Thursday, May 14, 2015

Police determine GO Transit passenger fatality at Union Station accidental

by Cindy J. Smith

An investigation into the death of  31 year-old Daniel Panacci, who died after he was dragged by his backpack after it became entangled in a moving GO train locomotive on April 28, has been deemed accidental by Toronto Police Services.

Panacci, despite accusations written to the publisher of this website that he was pushed into the train by a crowd of people or passerby, remain unsubstantiated. An inquest into his death will not occur, said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins in an email to

Aikins also wrote, "GO Transit remains one of the safest ways to travel. Safety is always our first priority. GO Transit has an excellent safety record. We have transported over a billion customers in 48 years. This was our first fatality at Union Station and we are conducting a full review of the circumstances and immediately implementing additional measures to protect customers."

The publisher of this website asked Aikins to comment on emails where people have expressed concern overcrowding will contribute to a fatality.

Aikins responded, "Like all transportation systems, it is common to deal with congestion especially during peak hours. Measures are put in place to ensure customer safety and we are augmenting those efforts. Ultimately safety is a joint responsibility between GO (Transit) and our passengers."

Aikins continues, "Union Station was built many years ago and is undergoing major renovations. It has unique challenges. When completed in 2017, Union Station will have double the number of vertical stairs and elevators to (ensure) more safety (and) enable passengers to travel between the platform and concourse levels. Construction work is staged to minimize the overall impact to the station and service."

She also stressed that signage, station announcements, on-board announcements and other messaging, customer email/text alerts, social media alerts, web information and staff on site directing customer flows are all in place to help inform customers, and ensure the safe movement of customers at Union Station.

Aikins also pointed out that GO Transit staff and transit safety officers (TSOs) conduct a number of safety campaigns throughout the year specifically targeting platform safety. TSOs monitor compliance of safety rules such as staying behind the yellow line.

When asked about what other measures Metrolinx can undertake to address customers' concerns about platform crowding and being pushed into the path of a train, Aikins responded, "We are reviewing other measures such as platform barriers that would take more time to implement."


Rhonda said...

I still can't believe people thought you were to blame in some way all because no one wanted to walk from 13 to 24. It never made sense. It won't ever make sense. Crowding has been going on for 20 years for me. The worst is after any concert or event yet all those Bieber fans made it home. Blue Jay fans. Hockey fans... TC fans... even Friday, after the mass cancellation, no one died and the plaforms were a shitshow but the worst was the blackout of 2003 and no one died then!!!

What about Ajax when there's a cancellation or a delayed train, thousands and thousands of people crowd that platform. Where were Karen, Nancy and Mary with their petition then?

C.J. Smith said...

No comment. This man's death was awful. Let's all just do our part to keep ourselves safe, alive and on the platform.

Anonymous said...

So he died because ... ???

C.J. Smith said...

Please stand back well behind the yellow platform line.

Anonymous said...

I heard he was standing near the elevator shaft. The most narrow part of 11. Where I think's one big yellow line. Is that true? Do you know? Can you find out?

C.J. Smith said...

Read my last comment.

Anonymous said...

seriously cindy. i learned nothing from this. you're worse than metrolimx.

C.J. Smith said...

Hey, it's very clear to me what happened. If it's not clear to you, you can call up the investigating detective and ask the questions you don't feel you have answers for.

Anonymous said...

hey I can tell you that the coroner is not finished with this case. they say don't believe what you hear in the media especially ms Atkins who is trying to protect metrolinx. the best is still to come. stay tuned.

Daniel was an innocent comuter like 99% of the others that day doing the same things ALL commuters do everyday and accepted by metrolinks because they keep allowing the status quo. if metrolinks has so much control of safety why did they not prevent this tragedy by blocking and guarding these dangers. the first and foremost responsibility is metrolinx since the train is moving and they shall ensure the safety 0f ALL passengers.

C.J. Smith said...

But what about VIA and TTC?
And the fact that all of Metrolinx property is unguarded. And when a train is delayed all of the stations are crowded. Every station people stand next to moving trains.

Anonymous said...

No one said Deliberate. Subway is actually safer because to get hurt you have to jump in front of a train. But at go you simply have to trip say on high heels and fall under the wheels that are exposed.
you cannot have a table saw on a construction site without a guard to protect your hands compared to a moving go train that will take your life.
anyway this appears to be a pro metrolinks propaganda site. not worth it.

C.J. Smith said...

I'm more proactive.
What about VIA?

Anonymous said...

ive observed that via passengers are lined up below in the co0ncourse and allowed up with control personnel when train is stopped ready for loading and after, vertually no one on the platform when it leaves.

Far cry from the unorganized chaos on the go train platform that caused this tradedy . a major lack of control by allowing uncontrolled quantities of commuters on platforms not designed for those numbers.

Anonymous said...

For the comment above, re: Via Rail control. GO does have this somewhat in place - passengers are not permitted on the platform until the train info and platform number(s) are displayed on the screens in the concourse areas. For many rush hour trains, the information is posted about ten minutes before departure - and more often than not, this after the train has arrived. Unfortunately, many ignore or are unaware of this. GO also seems to turn a blind eye to this as well.

I've also noticed many people crowd in so they can get on a specific coach/set of doors. All to save a few minutes at their home station when they fly out the door and into the parking lot. Are those six minutes worth your life?

That said, there is always room for improvement on crowd management - especially "large event" crowds from the ACC/SkyDome/BMO/etc. as alcohol and/or casual riders are involved.

Pedestrian/train fatalities are so easy to prevent, yet they happen daily across North America.

Stay back and stay alert. You might be a few minutes later getting home, but you will get home.

Anonymous said...

Very tragic accident. So sad for his friends and family. Platform wasn't crowded on platform 11 where he was because most passengers were on their way to Barrie. The other side of the platform was busy because they were waiting for the next train. Barrie train was on time and was leaving at a slow pace as usual. No way the driver could have seen the accident based on my view from platform 11 only yards away from the victim going the same way as me. Camera on the back locomotive could have captured was was happening. Cameras with sound could have brought evidence to this accident. Accident was so quick that there was no screaming only shock at what happened.Distraught passenger walking in opposite showed no anger from a push. I didn't see anything unusual either. However people do walk on the yellow line and also carry bags that go over into the yellow line. Stay back of the yellow line, carry your knapsack in front of you since they don't have safety release clips and often protrude in yellow zone , don't go to track until on board, and single file through narrow areas.Thanks Cindy - stay back from yellow line seems to be the answer to keep commuters safe

Anonymous said...

Yah and where were all those Go Transit control people that were theoretically there to ensure commuters were behaved an in control of the platforms as Ms Atkins stated.

You insinuate that it's the victims fault because he must have encroached on the yellow line.
I can tell you there is basically an unguarded ledge and not a platform in that area (and many other areas). I can also suggest to you that there is a strong likely hood that the uncontrolled commuter traffic
patterns typical on the platforms contributed to him being pushed into the train.
guarding and controlling dangers is still the responsibility of the service provider especially when they know how the commuters typically behave but negligently accept the status quo for train schedule purposes ( safety appears to be secondary at the most to GO TRANSIT).
That is not an excuse on a construction site and certainly should not be at public transit where commuters expect to be safe on their way into work and home, a service they PAY for. So please don't blame a victim who cannot anymore defend himself for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

There were many safety officers there; however, I didn't see any unsafe activity on platform 11 that night except the actual incident. I don't think the victim intentionally did anything unsafe. I think it was a freak incident. I also think we need to make it safer to avoid problems in the future. Making the area safer is necessary. They painted the lines yellow in the worn areas. I am noticing the announcement to stay back of the yellow line. They could announce when trains will be approaching and they could have no moving trains when people are leaving the trains. They could have people wait in the corridor until the train has arrived as suggested by the boards. They already have added more stairs to allow people to get to their desired carriage plus allow you to walk thru the train. These are some of the cheaper solutions that aren't yet as safe as a construction site. Taking safety answers from other areas is a good idea. I know safety release clips are used for people working on scanning machines so perhaps similar releases could be forced on knapsack makers just like they did away with strings on hoods that get caught or no loops in strings for blinds. Single file through ledges should also be encouraged with barriers to not allow unsafe passage. Glass/ plexiglass barriers between train and pàssengers might prevent accidental connection with moving parts.I don't know the answer but I am doing more to keep myself safe.

Anonymous said...

I bet if Barrie was still on 25/26 this tragic accident would not have happened, since GO Transit moved Barrie to 12/13 it is just way to crowded for that narrow platform.

C.J. Smith said...

Lakeshore East, which carried more passengers than Barrie and runs 40% more trains between 3 and 8pm, was on these platforms for more than five years. No one was ever killed.

This was the first fatality of a passenger at track level, ever. It had nothing to do with crowding and more to do with where the victim was standing.

That said, this death was 100% preventable.

Anonymous said...

This response is absolutely discusting.