School girls commended for rescuing wheelchair-bound woman stranded on train tracks

TOKYO —

A group of seven elementary school girls spotted an elderly lady trapped on a railroad crossing in Yamanashi Prefecture on Wednesday. Her electric-powered wheelchair had run out of power, leaving the poor woman stranded–and that’s when the brave girls sprang into action.

The seven elementary school girls noticed the woman stuck on the railway after the crossing gates had already lowered and the train warning alarm had begun to ring. It was obviously a precarious situation for the aged woman.

After hitting the emergency button, five of the girls worked together to lift the crossing gate, while the others helped move the elderly woman and her wheelchair to safety. When asked about it later, one of the girls remarked that, “I was scared, but I felt like we had to save her.”

Fortunately, pressing the emergency button stopped the train at the station, ensuring their safety. Once the train started moving again, the conductor stopped at the crossing to find out who or what had caused the alarm. When he didn’t find anything amiss on the track, he noticed a group of elementary school students and asked them if they knew what had happened. It was then that he learned about the elderly woman and the girls’ rescue.

The girls received letters of gratitude from JR, though the company also issued a general warning, saying that normally people should not go through lowered crossing gates. As a rule, they stated, people should just use the emergency buttons.

Source: FNN News

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  • 13

    dbsaiya

    Quick thinking and quick action, bravo lassies! Wish the community and the police would also recognize their deeds.

  • -1

    CrazyJoe

    I'm glad they're all safe but keep in mind to always expect the unexpected.

  • 1

    KariHaruka

    Good group of brave girls displaying an act of courageousness for a total stranger. I wonder though if there was anyone else around at the same time though and if so why didn't they also help.

  • 8

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Bless teir sweet young hearts! Im hapy nobody was hurt!!!

  • 3

    Strangerland

    I'm glad they're all safe but keep in mind to always expect the unexpected.

    If you are expecting it, it's not unexpected anymore. So the above quote makes no sense.

  • -8

    wildwest

    Peoe in electric wheelchairs should be more responsible. They have battery indicators to warn when power is low. She should have waited before attempting to cross a dangerousness point without precautions.

  • 10

    rowiko68

    Good on them! This story made me feel warm around my heart.

  • 8

    Tamarama

    Good stuff!

  • 9

    Aaron Loki Brummett

    I hope the Karma rewards them favorably! That was truly a brave act!

  • 10

    mito

    Excellent news. And the writer of this piece should be commended for writing with heart - it's good to read a story that we can tell was written by a sentient human being, instead of the usual dispassionate texts.

  • 4

    tmarie

    Awesome!! Well done to the girls and their family, teachers and community who raised them to be the heroes they are!

  • -10

    longerterm

    As a rule, they stated, people should just use the emergency buttons.

    Only in Japan.....'We're safe! See, we have an emergency button. But don't touch it!"

  • -4

    cl400

    I like it how JR covered their butt in case of incompetence.

  • 8

    longerterm

    ****OOPS! I thought I saw 'shouldn't' and not 'should'. Disregard the previous post.

    :)

  • 5

    Serrano

    Totally awesome!

  • 6

    Ed O Jidai

    It is so nice to see such positive news.

    A life likely saved and the rescuers properly commended. Great! Those seven students make me proud to be human. Good on 'em.

  • 8

    FightingViking

    That's the kind of story I'd like to see a lot more often in JT... We're starting off the weekend and the Christmas period on a very positive note ! Hope to see more of these stories ! (As a girl-scout, we were always taught to "help others" - even if only to carry a heavy bag for an older person. It would seem they have been brought up in much the same way !)

  • 3

    Mariam Tebourbi

    heartwarming! bravo little angels!

  • 5

    sillygirl

    congrats to these young ones. it seems we are hearing a lot more of this type of thing in japan. nice to see people helping out people in trouble.

  • 5

    wontond

    Now these are role models. I'm glad no one was hurt.

  • 4

    CGB Spender

    Good story! There's a decent level of alertness among most citinizens here in Japan. Some time ago I almost witnessed a similar situation where a man in a wheelchair was stuck temporarily on a rail crossing. Some people, incl. me where checking while crossing the rails but he could get on by himself then.

    There is nothing better than to help others. (But be wary you're not just exploited by the wrong people!)

  • 3

    Jason Stiles

    These girls deserve a medal and a one day pass from school.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Nice work, young ladies! More of this kind of story needed.

    I'm a little disgusted by JR's slight admonishment at the end of their 'congratulating' of said young ladies -- if they had not done what they had, it's possible the old woman would have been hit and a person lost her life. You absolutely SHOULD cross under a lowered bar at a crossing if someone is trapped and in desperate need. Most of us would hesitate, which is why these young ladies are so amazing.

  • -2

    kickboard

    You absolutely SHOULD cross under a lowered bar at a crossing if someone is trapped and in desperate need

    No, you shouldn't. You should push the emergency button, especially in this case. JR East has a system where if someone pushes the button, any nearby trains will automatically stop. For other train lines, it consists of an audible alarm and warning lamps inside the train operator's room.

  • 1

    Tokyo Joe

    Occasionally these chairs conk out when hitting bumps like the lip of a road crossing ramp -- so a rough track could do the same thing. They just suddenly go dead. It then takes a moment to get the ON button to respond. Or the battery has to be reconnected, taking even longer.

    So these kids did the right thing and it looks like they knew the train would not start up though it's certainly not clear from the story how far away the train crossing is from the station. Hope someone in government officially recognizes them for their quick thinking.

    Tragedy averted!

  • 2

    Vernie Jefferies

    There is hope for the future. Great job girls.

  • -2

    Serrano

    "You absolutely SHOULD cross under a lowered bar at a crossing if someone is trapped and in desperate need"

    "No, you shouldn't. You should push the emergency button, especially in this case. JR East has a system where if someone pushes the button, any nearby trains will automatically stop."

    So, you are saying if you see someone trapped on a railway crossing with the crossing bar lowered, you should just push the emergency button and hope that no train comes or the train stops before reaching the crossing. That is indeed safer for the bystander, but if you can see that no train will reach the crossing in the next few seconds, maybe you could duck under the bar and try to move the trapped person out of danger?
    That's what I would do.

  • 1

    Hawkeye

    Kudo's to those kids. JR should give them and their parents a free train pass so they can go somewhere during the holidays

  • 0

    Blacklabel

    so if you push the emergency button and all nearby trains automatically stop then its perfectly safe to go under the bar and help the person right away. No trains are coming anymore............right.....??

  • -3

    CGB Spender

    I don't agree often with smithinjapan but he got this right! In some situations in life you need to say screw the rules and act out of instinct. Japanese are often rule-sticklers and think that the best course of actions is to inform authorities. However recently, more often then not, it has been shown that you can't rely on the authorities. But it seems people are improving and developing courage.

  • 1

    RedactedbyFemiKnotseez

    Its odd, but I don't think anyone would support elementary school kids directly dealing with life and death matters any other day, particularly if their own lives were on the line. Seems an awful lot of opposition to teenagers even having smartphones in another thread.

    Seems to me that in this case, hindsight has become 20/20. Seems to me that the odds are that they got lucky more than this was a case of astute awareness. If it was only one girl's idea to hit the emergency button, imagine if that girl has been absent that day. Imagine if there was already a train barreling down the tracks.

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