Mother and 3-year-old son killed by train at Riddlesdown station in south London during morning rush hour

Witnesses say woman jumped in front of train in Surrey, dragging child with her

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The Independent Online

A woman and her son have died after being hit by a rush-hour train this morning, police have confirmed.

Officers were called after the collision and Donna Oettinger, 41, and her son, three-year-old Zachary, were declared dead at the scene.

A witness said that Donna jumped in front of the train dragging her son with her at Riddlesdown station in Surrey.

James King, who was in the front carriage of the train when the incident happened, said that passengers were distraught when they realised what had happened. Mr King, who is 27 and works for an advertising firm in London, said: “The driver came on the Tannoy sounding quite panicked, he asked three times for the conductor to come see him.

“I started to see reports of what had happened coming through on Twitter, at that point there was crying and panicking among the passengers. We heard that it was a woman and a child and it got even worse.

“I am still shaken up, I’ve been thinking about how I was only four seats from the front. It is such a tragedy that there will be a father somewhere who will be told about it.”

Another commuter Paul Camlett, 38, said: “I had just arrived at the station when the station master rounded everyone up and ordered them off the platform. Everyone was oblivious to what had happened.

“A woman screamed ‘there’s a body on the track’.

“I’m at work now but I can’t work. I’m in complete shock. People were crying. They were in complete shock.”

Ms Oettinger posted a heartbreaking series of messages on Facebook last year. In one, she wrote: “Thank god I have my son zaki I owe him a lot when I get better love you son with all my heart xxx.” In another, she wrote: "Best day of my life when my beautiful zaki was born he brings so much happiness to my life I love you so much zaki love mummy xxx [sic]".

Riddlesdown station was shut by police, and there was severe disruption to services as the electrical power to the line between Woldingham and South Croydon was turned off and buses were running between some stations. Southern Railway reported that the line has since been reopened but delays are expected this afternoon.

British Transport Police said the incident was reported to at 8.29am and Metropolitan Police officers and medics from the London Ambulance Service also attended. Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Iain Miller said: “Our thoughts remain with Donna and Zachary family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

“Officers are continuing to work to establish the full circumstances of what happened, although early indications show that no one else was believed to have been involved. A file will be prepared for the Coroner.”

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40.