Refugee crisis: Man who died at Hungarian train station was 'running away from police'

The 50-year-old man fell and hit his head on tracks, the UNHCR said

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 05 September 2015 11:30
The man (pictured) died after fellow refugees and paramedics tried to save him
The man (pictured) died after fellow refugees and paramedics tried to save him

A refugee who died at a Hungarian train station was running away from police when he was fatally wounded, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

He was among hundreds of men, woman and children whose train was held at Bicske, west of Budapest, as they attempted to travel to the Austrian border.

A stand-off lasting two days saw refugees refuse to travel to register their asylum claims at a nearby camp as the train was surrounded by lines of riot police.

The man was one of around 300 refugees who broke through police lines to escape a train station in Hungary.

The man who died was among around 350 people who managed to break through their ranks and attempt to run towards Austria.

A spokesperson for the UNHCR said initial reports suggested the 50-year-old fell and hit his head on train tracks “while trying to run away from the police”.

Original reports quoted Hungarian authorities claiming he had “collapsed”.

An ambulance was called and paramedics attempted to resuscitate the man but his injuries were too severe and he died around 50 minutes later.

Montserrat Feixas Vihé, the UNHCR’s Budapest-based representative, said the agency’s thoughts and sympathies were with the refugee’s family after the “shocking incident”.

“This tragic death illustrates the desperation of those arriving in Europe in search of safety,” he added.

“We urge the Hungarian authorities to put in place immediate and adequate emergency reception, assistance and registration capacity, so that refugees disembarking in Europe are welcomed into a safe and caring environment.”

It was the second death of a refugee on Europe’s train tracks on Friday.

Earlier in the day, a 45-year-old man was hit by a train as he walked near the village of Petrades, near the Turkish border in Greece.

The country is on a land route used by refugees travelling through the Balkans to reach Europe, which has become increasingly popular as people avoid the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

Eastern European countries used as a point of transit have refused calls by the EU to set up reception centres for people arriving and rebuffed proposals for quotas to accept refugees.

Hungary, which is building an 100-mile long fence along its border with Serbia to stop the flow of people, has drawn criticism for its treatment of refugees trying to pass through.

After days of confrontation and chaos as refugees were prevented from catching trains to Germany and Austria from Budapest, the right-wing government deployed dozens of buses to take stranded people to the border on Saturday.

Austria has agreed with Germany that it would allow the migrants access, waiving the rules of an asylum system brought to breaking point by Europe's worst refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Photos of a three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up dead on a Turkish beach after drowning as his family tried to reach Europe have galvanised calls for the EU to do more to give refugees a safe home.

Aylan Kurdi was buried with his brother and mother, who also drowned alongside nine others in the disaster, in his war-torn hometown of Kobani yesterday.

This newspaper has started a campaign for the UK to welcome a fair share of refugees.

Click here to sign The Independent's petition

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