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

Life on street inspires Comox man to help others without homes

For Sam Franey, it all starts with making connections between people

L’Arche Comox Valley community reeling over findings of inquiry into founder

The local L’Arche community is reeling in the wake of a report… Continue reading

Comox Valley Waldorf School closing

The Comox Valley Waldorf School (CVWS) is familiar with change. It has… Continue reading

Comox Valley students sparkle with gold at Skills Canada event

Valley secondary students captured gold in 13 of the 20 different trades and technology-based events.

VIU students pitch planning projects to Cumberland

Students looked at topics such as historical values and parking issues

UPDATE: Two killed in fiery collision on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Father, two children killed after car goes over embankment on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Most Read