I always used to have a little snigger (most likely as intended) when I saw this headline but it is rather scary when you're involved.
My good friend Doug and I have just returned from a wonderful week of train watching in Germany but our last night there was quite an adventure.
We had spent the afternoon at one of our favourite stations, made friends with a young lad who we think we saw some 3½ years ago and he is at least as train mad as before, then we had gone for our evening meal at a wonderful local hostelry.
Upon our return to the station, we found that "our" bus type shelter had one occupant but he waved us nonchalantly enough towards the vacant seats and we proceeded to watch trains again. It was now a little too dark for photography but I could still note loco numbers down. After a while, I got up from my seat next to this other chap, who I had noticed did appear very much the worse for wear, he had evidently been drinking rather too much.
As I was sitting down again, I glanced across at him and very quickly realised that he was holding a hunting type of knife in both hands and pressing the tip of the blade into his abdomen! I sprang up again before I actually touched down and immediately went back to my previous position and contemplated how to warn Doug, who was busy texting his wife.
That must have given me the idea of sending him a text!
Doug received this and didn't appear to respond, leaving me wondering how to get him out of there. However, as luck would have it, the disturbed chap then started being violently ill, off to the side away from Doug - who seized the chance, even grabbing my bag that was underneath my seat!
We quickly got the heck away from there and crossed to the opposite platform so we could observe anything going on in the 'bus' shelter. Doug tried to raise the attention of the two station security men but they went off duty just beforehand and he missed them. I said that we had to warn someone because if station staff went to move this chap, they could end up getting stabbed so I went back to check all around the facilities and found the fast food manageress and a colleague having a crafty smoke around the back. I asked calmly and discreetly if the station master was around - "no", then I asked for the police - again, "no"! Fortunately, the lady thought the station master might still be there so we checked his office and he was!
He had quite good English so I told him what I had seen and he immediately rang the police - within two minutes they were there!
I was by now on the platform with the SM, having given him all my details - I only saw the police approach the 'bus' shelter and shortly thereafter bring the man out, who appeared quite compliant but from the other platform, Doug saw the Police had sub machine guns drawn and one kept a bead on the guy through the glass while his colleague disarmed him and they then took him away to the police station nearby. If he had made the wrong move however, there would have been a 'bang' and that would have been it for him!
Writing this now, it all seems calm and clinical, as though from some sort of action movie script but it certainly was very scary at the time and the old adrenaline was pumping.
I really must commend the German railway police, they were very professional, efficient and wasted no time in dealing with this man. I don't know if he "only" intended to harm himself or others, maybe the knife would have been too painful and he may have thrown himself under a train - an awful experience for the driver of the train, any witnesses and those who have to clean up afterwards. I certainly hope that he now gets the help he must surely need to sort himself out.