Friends of freerunner Nye Frankie Newman, who died in an accident on the Paris Metro on New Year's Day (2017), have denied he was train surfing at the time and claim he was hit by a sign as he leaned out of a window to take a photo. The 20-year-old parkour specialist from Woking was with friends in the French capital when he was killed.

In December, members of Newman's parkour team — the Brewman Group — were photographed "surfing" on top of trains on the Paris Metro as it crossed the River Seine. Sky News is also reporting that Newman posted a photograph from the top of a Paris railway bridge two days before the tragedy and Paris investigators have said in a statement that he appeared to have been between two carriages at the time.

In a statement, transport operator RATP said: "From what witnesses have told to RATP Staff, the victim was between two wagons at the time of the accident for an unknown reason so far."

Freerunning or "Parkour" is a kind of urban gymnastics which involves running and jumping gracefully between and along buildings. Newman has previously documented his adventures, which included leaping along the Giant's Causeway and jumping between buildings in Hong Kong.

However the suggestion Newman was train surfing when he died was denied by fellow Brewman Group members, including best friend Rikke Brewer — who apparently posted the train surfing video in 2016. Brewer told the Sun Online: "He was leaning out of the window trying to take pictures and struck a sign or something at the side of the tracks."

In a Facebook post just hours after the death of his friend Luke Stones wrote: "He wasn't train surfing as many of you may assume, many of you may think it's a joke and we really wish it was, but it isn't. Nye was one of the members who thought of the idea of a parkour team with his friends and was always the biggest key figure in pushing the team and its athletes."

Rikke Brewer surfing
Rikke Brewer's Facebook post shows two people on a Paris metro train. Rikke Brewer facebook