Young woman hit by 25,000-volt shock after climbing on a freight train in east London

The 22-year-old is being treated in hospital after the incident on Wednesday night

A young woman was in a serious condition in hospital today after leaping on to a freight train in London ad being burnt by live overhead cables.

The 22-year-old sparked an explosion by touching the 25,000-volt wires and was thrown 20ft on to the platform where her friends had stood watching, the London Evening Standard reported.

Her actions were branded a “moment of madness” as rail chiefs warned the public against copycat stunts.

Witnesses told the Standard that the woman, who appeared intoxicated, removed her high heels before climbing onto the carriage of the train as it waited at Hackney Wick station in east London on Wednesday night.

She spent 15 minutes dodging between the carriages, even stopping to pose spread-eagled while laughing to her friends below.

However, an explosion, accompanied by a bright flash of light, caused the woman to fall backwards on to the platform. Her condition today was described as serious but stable.

A witness, who didn’t want to be named, told the Standard: “We saw her climb up from a ladder at the side of one of the carriages and thought, ‘This girl is an idiot’. We all thought it was stupid, madness, and that she was going to get arrested.

“She looked wasted and was clambering about up there, then it was like a bright flash of light with sparks and parts of her clothes were on fire.

“Then she just froze for a couple of seconds and went super-stiff and fell on to the platform. The flash hurt your eyes. It went from that to fire.

“I think she might have ended up between the wires and then went into one of them. The explosion was so loud you couldn’t hear if she screamed or said anything at all. The whole thing probably lasted about 15 minutes.

“We ran over to the other side of the platform where she was and couldn’t believe she was conscious and breathing. We thought she’d be dead.”

Other rail users rushed to the woman’s aid while a group of friends stayed with her until ambulance  crews arrived and rushed her to hospital.

Network Rail said: “The railway is a dangerous place, with trains travelling at high speeds and power lines carrying more than 25,000 volts of electricity. What might have seemed a harmless prank very nearly ended in tragedy.”

British Transport Police said an investigation was continuing. A spokeswoman said: “Officers were called to Hackney Wick station at 11.06pm to a report a woman had been injured.

“It is believed the woman, who fell from the roof of a train, came into contact with electricity from the overhead power lines.

“Officers are now working to establish how she came to be on the train.”

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried