French students help visually-impaired man who fell onto SkyTrain tracks

WATCH:  Three summer interns from France sprang into action when they saw a visually-impaired man fall onto SkyTrain tracks in Vancouver.

As he was waiting for a train at the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station, Adrien Michel had to think quickly when he saw a man fall onto the tracks.

“I ran near the guy…and I catch his hand and I grab him on the platform and we put him in a safe position,” said Michel, who said an oncoming train stopped very close to them.

What Michel, an SFU student from France, and his friends didn’t realize until after they pulled the man onto the platform was that he was visually impaired.

Michel and and his friends are certain the train came to a halt past the point where the man had fallen, but TransLink insists the emergency stop was triggered as it should.

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The Canadian National Institute of the Blind offers free one-on-one instruction to help the blind or partially sighted learn how to travel independently. Navigating SkyTrain is considered an advanced skill, but it has been made a lot safer since the introduction of tactile platform edges 12 years ago.

From an average of one-and-a-half incidents per year involving visually-impaired passengers, now there have been just three falls in the past 12 years, including this most recent incident.

Fortunately, the man was not seriously hurt, thanks in part to the intervention of some Good Samaritans.

“My mom told me, ‘be careful, you don’t have to be injured before you come back to France,'” said Michel. “But she said it’s a good thing and she’s proud of me.”

-with files from Elaine Yong