Home   Maidstone   News   Article

US airman Ryan Austin tried to save himself from fatal fall at Maidstone East

An American airman grabbed a bush in a desperate attempt to stay upright on a railway track, but couldn't stop himself falling on to a live line, an inquest heard.

Staff Sergeant Ryan Austin was very drunk when he ventured on to the tracks at Maidstone East station and fell backwards on to the 750-voltage line.

The 25-year-old’s widow, Jessica, was eight months pregnant when he died on August 6. She gave birth to their first child, Brayden, just a month after her husband’s funeral in their hometown of Corbin, Kentucky.

S/Sgt Austin was staying at the Hilton Hotel, in Ashford Road, Bearsted, for one night, with three other servicemen.

They were travelling from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to a military airfield in Suffolk.

Three of the men, including S/Sgt Austin, went into the town centre after a pub meal and several drinks at the hotel bar. They spent a couple of hours drinking at Bar Chocolate, in Market Buildings.

They called a taxi just before 2.30am when S/Sgt Austin, who friends say was in good spirits, ran off in search of food.

His two colleagues searched the area and were directed towards the station, where they were met by police.

S/Sgt Austin’s body had been discovered by two passers-by shortly after he had left his friends.

Maidstone East station
Maidstone East station

CCTV showed him standing on a wall outside the station, looking towards the opposite platform.

He was then seen walking towards a slope which leads on to the track.

Sgt Mark Dron from British Transport Police said it is believed the airman was trying to cross the railway and lost his balance when passing a patch of undergrowth. He said: “As he edged around that bush, he grabbed it, trying to keep himself upright and fell backwards.”

Mid Kent coroner Patricia Harding recorded that the death was accidental. The cause was given as electrocution.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More