Foot severed in walk on train tracks

Emergency crews respond to a pedestrian struck on the train tracks Friday afternoon. - Curtis Kreklau photo
Emergency crews respond to a pedestrian struck on the train tracks Friday afternoon.
— image credit: Curtis Kreklau photo

Repeated attempts to alert a pedestrian walking on the train tracks in White Rock Friday afternoon failed to avert tragedy.

The 41-year-old Surrey man was struck from behind by a westbound freight train in the 13800-block south of Marine Drive shortly after 1:30 p.m. April 22, losing his left leg between the knee and ankle.

Police say crew on the 104-car BNSF train sounded the horn "numerous" times in an effort to warn the pedestrian of the impending danger.

"The train was blaring, blaring, blaring its horn," said Cpl. Nina Phillipson, the lead investigator on the file.

It is believed the man was listening to music on headphones, and did not hear the train coming, Phillipson said.

Police have yet to speak with the man directly, but do not believe alcohol played a role in the incident. They have also ruled out a suicide attempt, Phillipson said.

"We suspect he was just walking down the tracks."

The man’s severed appendage was recovered and he was airlifted from the beach to Royal Columbian Hospital, where he was last listed in stable condition. Phillipson did not know if doctors were able to reattach the severed limb.

Phillipson said the incident is a reminder to people visiting the beach to be "super vigilant" near the tracks.

"Not only is it against the law, it is so dangerous," she said.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway owns the tracks and issues regular warnings each year, advising of the danger posed in trespassing on its property.

Monday, BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas reiterated the message.

"We can't encourage the public enough to be aware that trains move on any track, at any time, in any direction," Melonas said.

Melonas said at the time of the incident, the freight train was travelling 18 miles per hour in a 35 m.p.h. zone. The train was delayed 1½ hours by the tragedy.

BNSF is investigating the incident with local authorities, he added.


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