The man with the amazing arm

The man with the amazing arm: 26-year-old has futuristic limb that includes phone charger, torch and even a DRONE

Four years ago tomorrow, James Young’s life changed for ever in a freak accident when he fell under a train. As well as sustaining multiple injuries – including collapsed lungs, a fractured skull and face, rib fractures and cracks in his spine – he damaged his left arm while his left leg was severed below the knee at the scene.

James, then 22 and working as a biological scientist, had been about to board a Docklands Light Railway train in East London for a night out with friends.


James Young, 26, from London, became ‘part cyborg’ in experiment that fitted him with prototype bionic arm Walking too close to the platform edge as the train pulled in, he had put his hand out to push the button to open the doors. But the momentum of the still moving train caused him to spin and lose his balance.

He fell between two carriages. ‘My friends looked round and couldn’t see me,’ he says, having pieced the incident together from CCTV footage, as he has no memory of it.

‘The train stopped and my friends got on it and pulled the alarm. Two men helped them to look for me. The guy who found me, David Kelly, climbed under the train and talked to me to keep me conscious.’


An air ambulance helicopter took him to the Royal London Hospital, where his parents – Philip and Karen, retired City of London Police officers – and sister Elle rushed to be with him.

He was kept in an induced coma for 12 days to protect his brain and stabilise him. At first, surgeons removed dead tissue infected by dirt and oil from the train tracks, but were eventually forced to amputate his left arm.

‘Initially, my parents had been told I had broken my leg and arm. They didn’t know how bad it was until they saw me,’ says James, who needed 12 operations to rebuild his face and body.


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