‘I could smell my skin burning when I stumbled on live rail tracks to fetch my shoe’

By Staff

A mum has recalled how how body shook uncontrollably and sparks flew from her arms after she got an electric shock when she stepped on a train track on the way home from a party. Dinusha Ilanperuma, now 23, vividly remembers the “smell of burning flesh” during the horror incident.

The mum-of-two had been drinking at a party in Staines before leaving to catch a train home. She walked along Shepperton station platform barefoot and dropped one of her high heels onto the tracks.

Hopping down to retrieve the shoe, Dinusha stumbled and came into contact with the high voltage live line. Dinusha’s “whole body started violently shaking” before she collapsed on the tracks.

READ MORE: Couple with 22-year age gap plan to marry and start a family despite ‘hurtful’ comments from family and strangers

The emergency services were able to halt the incoming train while they attempted to rescue her. She was rushed to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where she underwent skin grafts for the third degree burns on her left arm, back and right foot.

Her injuries were so severe she was treated for two weeks in hospital and had to learn to use her arm again due to nerve damage.

Dinusha, a full-time mum, from Shepperton, said: “I can still remember the smell. It smelt like burnt meat, it was horrible.

“What happened that night will haunt me for the rest of my life. I really thought I was going to die.”

Dinusha, then aged 15, had been drinking at a party in Staines, on September 11, 2015, until 8.30pm. After leaving the party, she met four pals who then walked a few minutes to the train station.

Dinusha said: “It was one of the first parties I’d been to and I’d been drinking for the first time. I was quite drunk – so my memory is a little hazy.”

When she dropped one of the shoes she was carrying, Dinusha checked the train timetable making sure she’d have enough time to get it back. “The train was about five minutes away, so I thought I had time to grab it and get back to safety,” Dinusha said. “What I didn’t know is the tracks become live and have electricity running through them when the train is a few stops away.”

Dinusha initially avoided the metal tracks, but when one of the teens on the platform reached out to pull her back up to safety, her foot slipped and made contact with the live rail. She collapsed as the 25 kilovolts of electricity coursed through her body.

Dinusha says her peers watched in horror as she shook uncontrollably and sparks flew from her arms. Dinusha said: “I was drunk, so I don’t remember being in pain. I just started screaming as I couldn’t move my arm. I was terrified.”

Her friends contacted the emergency services who alerted the driver of the incoming train. It then took half-an-hour for the electricity to be turned off and for paramedics to be able to safely rescue Dinusha from the tracks, she said.

Dinusha said: “They kept shouting down at me, telling me not to move. But I couldn’t move, even if I tried. I was terrified, and then I fainted again.”

‘It took me a long time to be accepting of my scars’

Dinusha woke up two days later in hospital with her mum, Neela Ilanperuma, 54, and dad, Peter, 60, who both run a cleaning company, by her side. She was transferred to Chelsea and Westminster Adult Burns Centre, where she underwent skin grafts on her left arm, back and right foot, four days later.

Dinusha was discharged after two-and-a-half weeks but returned to the hospital for further treatment every other day for a further two months. The harrowing ordeal left her with scars and limited movement in her arm. Thankfully she was not left with any other health implications.

She had to learn to use her arm again, and even had to move to a different school to receive extra support. “My whole life changed, and it was really difficult to adjust,” she said.

“All I wanted was to be a normal teenager, but this huge thing had happened to me. It took me a long time to be accepting of my scars.

“It’s so important for kids to know how dangerous train stations can be, they should teach it more in schools. I wish I could go back and warn myself – I really regret going onto the tracks that day.”

Nine years on, and Dinusha – who is mum to Leonardo, five, and Luna, four – has learnt to love her scars and hopes her story will act as a warning to others. “Mentally I think it’s affected me more as an adult,” she said. “I’ll always be haunted by what happened, but I’ve learnt to love my scars. They’re just proof that I survived.”

? Sign up to our daily newsletters for all the latest and greatest from across London here.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *