Gautrain station gate closes on boy's head

Pretoria - Gautrain management says it will investigate an incident in which an access gate at a station apparently slammed shut on a 3-year-old boy’s head and trapped it.

Cornell Tome from Wierdapark, Centurion, said on Monday that he and his wife, Liezel, and their son took the Gautrain from OR Tambo International Airport to Centurion last Wednesday after returning from a holiday in Cape Town. They wouldn’t give their son’s name.

A family member was waiting for the family at Centurion station.

The boy went towards the family member on the other side of the gate.

Turned around

"He turned around quickly and started running back to us, when the glass doors suddenly slammed shut. They knocked him off his feet and shut his head in the door.”

A security guard apparently approached them when the child started screaming and told the Tomes that parents had to train themselves to use the train to prevent such incidents from occurring.

The gate was opened and the child was freed. Tome said they battled to report the incident.

“We asked to speak to a station manager but there was no one like that on duty. We also called the call centre to report the incident and to bring it to their attention that the glass gates were a danger to children.

“They told us that they could do nothing about it and that this was how the system worked.”

Tome said there were no warnings anywhere about gates slamming shut.

He believed provision should be made for a family gate or trolleys where commuters could pick up their baggage.

Errol Braithwaite, spokesperson for Bombela, the consortium which runs the Gautrain, said there were several channels like station client service staff, the call centre, Gautrain website and even listed phone numbers where commuters could report complaints. “I am very upset to hear about the incident involving this little boy.”

“We apologise if we were responsible in any way.”

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