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

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Most Read