Photo by Shane MacKichan

Update: Seniors hit and killed by train in Lower Mainland were husband, 90 and wife, 88

Great-grandparents were reportedly driving to medical appointment

Video by Shane MacKichan/Dan Ferguson

An elderly couple who died after their car was hit by a train in Langley were identified as a 90-year-old man, who was driving the car, and his 88-year-old wife, both residents of the Langley area.

A social media post by a family friend identified them as Christian and Irmgard Wantke.

The great-grandparents were reportedly heading to a medical appointment when the crash occurred.

The crash occurred at the rail crossing on the Langley Bypass, near Glover Road, at 9:40 a.m., reported Langley RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Brown.

“It was train versus car at the Langley Bypass and Glover Road,” he said.

The car, which was stopped on the tracks in the train crossing, was hit by a westbound CN freight train and dragged some distance, Brown said.

“When we got to the vehicle, it was discovered the elderly couple were in medical distress… life-saving efforts were not successful,” he added.

Brown said the circumstances of the accident were “odd.”

“For some reason, they stopped on the tracks,” he said.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever know why.”

WATCH REPORT FROM THE SCENE

Langley City Deputy Fire Chief Brian Godlonton said firefighters extricated the pair from the car and performed CPR, but the couple’s injuries were too severe and they were pronounced dead at the scene.

Godlonton said some witnesses to the crash reportedly said the car was on the tracks when the rail guards came down.

He said anyone who saw it happen should contact investigators.

People need to be aware of their surrounding when they drive through a rail crossing, controlled or uncontrolled, he said.

“You should be approaching the scene with caution,” Godlonton said.

Especially, he said, in Langley City, where the amount of train traffic is increasing weekly.

Godlonton said Langley train crossings are getting busier and busier and there are more and more rail incidents.

An average of 30 trains a day and 15,000 cars go through the community every day, he estimated.

A few weeks earlier on November 20, the Langley City fire department hosted a “table-top” simulation of a very similar rail accident with several other agencies as a training exercise.

“The only difference was, it [the simulation] involved hazardous materials,” Godlonton told Black Press.

The train involved in the real-life crash was transporting coal.

One witness, who refused to be identified, told Black Press she saw the couple stopped on the track and was screaming to them to move when she witnessed them being struck by the train. She was interviewed by police.

Two stuffed dogs and a War Amps sticker were all that remained amid shattered glass at the impact site.

The train was travelling on CP Rail tracks, so Langley RCMP traffic services along with CP Police are investigating the crash along with the coroner.

The road was reopened to traffic about five hours later

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Photo by Shane MacKichan

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

COVID on Central Coast prompts call for information sharing

At least four cases have been identified on the central coast

NAALS receives funding for new child care centre

This project incorporates a longhouse design and reflects a Nuxalk architectural approach.

Lorena Draney celebrates 100th birthday in Bella Coola

She still knows how to enjoy a good party!

Smoky skies from US wildfires continue to affect Bella Coola

There is a special air quality warning in effect from Environment Canada for our region

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read