'Her pulse faded, and then she died in my arms'

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The Independent Online

In the recent shameful history of Britain's railways, there can have been few more traumatic stories than that of Andy Perversi: one minute, he was waiting for the 12.53pm to Moorgate, the next, after dodging a derailed train travelling at terrifying speed, he was cradling a dying young woman in his arms.

In the recent shameful history of Britain's railways, there can have been few more traumatic stories than that of Andy Perversi: one minute, he was waiting for the 12.53pm to Moorgate, the next, after dodging a derailed train travelling at terrifying speed, he was cradling a dying young woman in his arms.

At Potters Bar station, more than 20 people were waiting in the silence of a sleepy, humid afternoon before, in a dreamlike sequence of events many later described as unreal, they saw the rear carriage of the 12.45pm King's Cross to King's Lynn leave the rails, turn 90 degrees and come hurtling at them, spraying sparks and screeching furiously.

"I panicked and just ran like hell away from it," said Mr Perversi, a 21-year-old fitness instructor. "It was flying along the platform and I thought it was going to kill me. Once it had stopped, myself, a policewoman and another man ran back and jumped on to the tracks.

"We tried to give first aid to whoever we could. I tried to help an Oriental-looking woman in her twenties. I tried her brachial and radial pulses [the pulses in the upper arm and wrist] and they were very faint.

"Me and the other guy stayed with her for about five minutes. She had head injuries and was covered in blood. She was unconscious but I kept talking to her to keep her going in case she could hear me. Then her pulse faded and she died in our arms.

"I don't know what to feel at the moment. I suppose I'm in shock, but maybe later or next week it will hit me. I can't really believe it all happened."

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