By Jacqueline Woo
My paper, Thursday, Nov 01, 2012

SINGAPORE - The Thai teenager who fell onto train tracks last year and lost her legs had no physical contact with anyone before she fell, said a safety expert in the High Court yesterday.
Professor Natarajan Krishnamurthy - a consultant in safety, structures and computer applications - gave this testimony on the third day of the trial to determine who was at fault.
Nitcharee Peneakchanasak, then 14, had fallen from the platform at Ang Mo Kio MRT station onto the tracks, just as a train pulled in.

A lawsuit was later filed by her father against SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for not taking enough measures to prevent her fall.

In court yesterday, two grainy videos from the station's CCTV cameras were played and analysed frame-by-frame.
While there appeared to be about "three layers" of people standing behind Nitcharee at the time of the incident, Prof Krishnamurthy said that there were no visible signs of "pushing or shoving" when the train was approaching the platform, as far as he could tell.
However, the video was unable to show Nitcharee's exact position at the platform, as her legs were blocked from view.
Still, he said that Nitcharee was standing behind the yellow line before she fell, based on a calculated guess.
He said that this was possible based on the curve of her body as she fell and the position of the yellow line in the video.
And going by how Nitcharee's legs flipped up when she suddenly fell in the video, it appeared that she had not stepped forward on her own accord, said Prof Krishnamurthy.
This was contrary to a suggestion made by defence lawyer K. Anparasan from KhattarWong, who represented SMRT and LTA.
He said that she could have taken a step forward or could have already been standing on, or over, the yellow line.
Nitcharee, now 16, told the court on Monday that she was standing behind the yellow line on the platform before her fall.
She also repeatedly said that a fainting spell could not have caused her fall, even though she could not recall what had happened.
Yet, in her affidavit, she attributed her fall to commuters who were "standing very close (to) and in close contact" with her, causing her to lose her balance.
Prof Krishnamurthy yesterday said that "claustrophobia" might have triggered Nitcharee's fall. He thought that the girl, not being native to this country, could be unused to being surrounded by people rushing about.
The trial continues today.