Man Killed by the Metro and Bystanders

by Darby on February 7, 2015 - 10:25pm

On January 16th 2014, 59 year-old Radil Hebrich was struck by a metro train at the Langelier station. He was inebriated and crossed over the yellow line when an in-coming metro train hit him in the head. For approximately twenty minutes, he lay on the ground bleeding and not breathing, without any help.

The man was seen by at least 40 passersby and 3 metro drivers, none of whom intervened. One person did stifle through his pockets perhaps looking for identification but never checked for a pulse. Of the three metro drivers, two walked by him without a second thought and the third exited the vehicle to look at the man but the retreated to the cabin.

First responders finally arrived after a gruelling 16 minutes. However, Hebrich remained deprived of oxygen for another 3 minutes before efforts were made to re-oxygenate the man. According to coroner Jacques Ramsay, Hebrich suffered “a deep cut to the right side of his head, multiple skull fractures, and an “unstable” fracture of one of his vertebrae”. At 4:21 am on January 17th 2014, Hebrich passed away.

The Algerian born architect had come to Quebec with his wife in the 1990s and was unable to find work which resulted in his alcoholism. Regardless of this, I am left with one question. Why? Why didn’t anyone try to help?

The “bystander effect” could have been to blame for Hebrich’s suffering. Often, people do not step in because they assume someone else already has.

The coroner’s report published in December puts part of the blame on us, Hebrich’s fellow Montrealers. The coroner Jacques Ramsay said “the indifference of the passengers says a lot about the apathy of citizens”.

I believe he is right in saying so. I believe that we all have a moral obligation to help our fellow human beings. We cannot simply refuse to see what is directly in front of us. Misfortune can befall anyone at any time. I should hope that if something were to happen to myself, my friends or my family, someone would be there to help. In a modern day society, we should be able to rely on the beneficence of strangers in times of need.

In the past, I have myself been both very surprised by the kind-heartedness and the apathy of the members of our society. When I was in a car crash last week, other drivers stopped right away to see if I was okay and to call for help. However, when I was ten years old and had a severe cut on my knee from a bicycle accident, I was ignored by all those around me. There have been times when people instantly came to my aid and other times when I had to forcibly seek out aid from nearby strangers who warily dodged me. 

I would only hope that if you ever come across a person whom you think might be in distress that you would help in some way. What I am asking for is that we all carry out at least the most basic help. Asking a person if they are alright, calling 911, and checking for a pulse are all very simple actions that can be tremendously helpful. I commend the majority of you who do step in and do help.

However, Hebrich is a sad reminder that we must all be ever vigilant and never assume that someone else has already intervened. If you think something is wrong, do something about it.

To read the original article “Bystanders ignored man dying on metro platform, coroner says” published in the Gazette on February 6th 2015 written by Monique Muise follow this link:


I find this article really interesting. I like how you brought up the fact that we have a moral obligation to help other human beings, I also believe in that theory. I don’t understand what is happening nowadays, it seems to me as if people don’t care anymore. I really appreciated your honesty about your own personal experience and how when you needed help, people would just dodge you. I feel like with that, your news summary is more meaningful since you can, in a way, relate to what happened to the old man; as in, knowing how it feels to be ignored when in need of a stranger’s help.

I remember hearing about this when the coroner announced his results in December and I was totally amazed that people could simply walk by someone who was dying and no one would call 911 or try to help the man in any way they could. I believe your experience of being hurt and people either coming to help your or in other situations people wouldn't help you really shows how meaningful this article can be. When I hear about people who simply walk by a dying person I believe that there is not a lot of hope in the world, but then I hear about a situation where complete strangers would stop to help others and I am truly confused as to how people who are in the same society can have different reactions to people being hurt and in the need of help.

I would like to start off by saying that you did a good job summarizing the facts from the news article and relating it to your personal experiences while remaining objective to the matter. As you said, while we often receive help from strangers, we also find ourselves ignored when asking for help. Your personal experiences make your summary more meaningful and show firsthand that there are kind-hearted people in the world that will stop and help. However, despite the people that offer help, there remains a large part that will dodge requests for assistance. This only proves that we all face challenges when seeking help. It is a troubling fact. In Radil Hebrich’s case, people’s indifference towards others cost him his life. We can only hope that it does not cause any other deaths in the future. We must also make sure that we do our part in helping others. I suggest the following link to look further into the topic of the bystander effect. It is a story similar to the one you summarized. This shows that it is not an uncommon sight to see someone in need being ignored.

I believe that this article caught my attention because it talks about the bystander effect. The personal experiences that you integrated into your article are extremely helpful to the understanding of the situation. Also, I like how you call out and remind your readers to help people in their surroundings if ever they are in need of help. In fact, last semester, for my Introduction to Methodology course, I did a research study on the bystander effect and my findings were that the citizens in the downtown core of Montreal were quite helpful, which is why I was surprised and shocked while reading your article!