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

 

Photo by Shane MacKichan

Just Posted

KFD, COSAR rescue injured hiker in Kelowna

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail after woman injured her leg

Firefighter spring training comes to Lake Country

From LNG to breaking down doors, firefighters get training from industry pros

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Free GolfBC Championship hits Kelowna golf course

Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club hosts the Mackenzie Tour June 13

Okanagan FC kicks off regular season Saturday night

OKFC starts their inaugural season of the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) in Penticton

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Most Read