Blind woman dies after falling off Edmonton LRT platform

A visually impaired woman died after she slipped and fell off the platform at the University LRT station in Edmonton on Wednesday afternoon, according to her family.
Zaidee Jensen leaves behind a husband and two young children. (Courtesy of the Jensen family)

A visually-impaired woman died after she slipped and fell off the platform at the University LRT station in Edmonton on Wednesday, according to her family.

Zaidee Jensen, 29, hit her head, slipped into a coma and never recovered. The married mother of two died in hospital early Friday after her family took her off life support.

"So there's two children without a mother," said her father Albert Potter. Jensen had used the LRT for a decade and was with a sighted friend when she fell off the platform, he added.

Zaidee's father Albert Potter, left, and her husband, Mike Jensen, want the city to make the LRT safer for visually impaired people. (CBC)

Zaidee's husband, Mike Jensen, said he received a phone call from the hospital just after he got home on Wednesday.

"I'd just turned on the barbecue to start supper," he said.

"This whole nightmare started from there."

City officials held a news conference Friday afternoon where they confirmed that Jensen was taken to hospital. However, they didn't provide an official update on her condition nor did they release her name.

Ron Gabruck, director of operational support for Edmonton Transit, said that there were no trains in the station at the time. Jensen fell onto the northbound track.

Transit officials reviewing video

Gabruck said that a nurse who was in the station immediately came to Jensen's aid. Officials have started an investigation and are now reviewing security footage from the station, Gabruck said.

Zaidee Jensen worked as an office administrator for the National Research Council on the University of Alberta campus. She lost most of her sight at the age of 15 because of a brain tumour.

The platform edge at the University LRT station has grooves cut into the tile. (CBC)

The University LRT station has grooves cut into the tile along the edge of the platform. However, the markings aren't as prominent as they are at some other Edmonton LRT stations, which have raised round bumps along a yellow border.

Mike Jensen, who is also visually impaired, wants the city to look at ways to make the platforms safer.

"It's a very great thing to have that freedom to move throughout the city," he said.

"I don't know if it needs to go on to full-on barricades on the platforms but there's got to be ways to make better warnings."

Potter says the family wants to know if more could be done to make the LRT safer for people with disabilities.

"What I don't want to see is this happen to another family," Potter said. "More children going without a mother and a father."

Jensen says he's yet to hear anything from city officials.





  • An earlier version of this story stated that there are no warnings along the platform at the University LRT stop. In fact, there are grooves cut into the tile along the edge.
    Aug 24, 2012 1:10 AM MT