14 September 2009
A worker sleeping on the train tracks
PARIS (Reuters) - A drunk French teenager narrowly escaped death on Sunday after falling asleep on a railway track and slumbering undisturbed as a high-speed train roared over him, police said.
The 19-year old, whose name was not released, remained fast asleep face down on a stretch of track near Saint Nolff in southern Brittany, as the Quimper to Paris train passed, leaving only a few grease stains on the back of his jacket.
The driver saw the body lying on the tracks and slammed on the brakes, but was only able to stop a few hundred meters further on.
"It was his unconscious state that saved him really, as he lay there completely still like a dead body," said a spokesman for the local police force, adding that the clearance under the train is only around 20 centimeters. According to the spokesman, the teenager was making his way back from the Saint Nolff music festival when he stopped to take a nap on the railway line.
Roused by police and fire fighters who attended the scene, the young man gave a one-fingered salute before rolling over and going back to sleep. He was subsequently transferred to a nearby hospital where police say he is still recovering from his alcohol binge.
"He's not really aware of what happened," said the police spokesman.
(Reporting by Vicky Buffery, editing by Paul Casciato))