A dog owner died in a tragic accident at a metro station in Virginia. The 50-year-old was on the subway with his dog and got off in Vienna, 15 kilometers west of Washington, US media reports. When the doors closed and the train started, the dog was still in the wagon. Since the man had tied the leash around his body, he was dragged along by the train. At the end of the platform, he reportedly hit a railing and fell onto the tracks.
"The adult male was taken to the hospital but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries," the Metro Transit Police said on Twitter. The investigation was ongoing, but video footage from surveillance cameras at the station showed the incident happened 450 feet from the subway cab. The train driver carried out two security checks on the doors before he set the train in motion.
Metro train drivers are instructed to look out their windows when they enter a station and make sure they're opening the doors on the right side of the train, reports DCist. They would also have to make sure that the doors close properly and securely before driving off.
According to the Washington Post, the car doors are equipped with sensors to detect obstacles. In addition, the Metro trains had safeguards that prevented them from moving until such objects were cleared. However, the system only stops a train if the object is of a certain size.
Dogs are reportedly not allowed on the subway that operates in the Washington metro area. The only exceptions are assistance dogs, e.g. for the blind, and animals in a secure transport container. According to the police, the 50-year-old's dog, who was taken into custody, did not appear to be an assistance animal. However, the deceased's family disagreed. It is very much an assistance dog, the man's daughters told NBC News. The dead leaves behind two children and four grandchildren.
Sources: Metro Transit Police on Twitter, Washington Post, DCist, NBC News