BNSF tracks just south the 24 Avenue walkway the morning after a teenager was killed when he was struck by a passenger train. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Teenager dead after being struck by passenger train in South Surrey

It happened shortly after 10 p.m. in Crescent Beach

A teenager is dead after being struck by a passenger train in Crescent Beach Wednesday evening.

Police confirmed a male youth was hit shortly after 10 p.m. and was dead when officers arrived.

The victim’s age and name haven’t been released at this time, however, Peace Arch News has learned he was a 15-year-old student at a South Surrey high school, and an avid athlete.

“Surrey RCMP is currently investigating the matter and the investigation is still in its early stages,” noted an RCMP release. “There are multiple witnesses that are being interviewed in order to create a clear picture of the incident.”

According to one witness, the victim was among a group of around 50 teens who had gathered on the beach near the Christopherson Stairs, which lead to the waterfront from the foot of 24 Avenue. He was reportedly crossing the tracks towards the beach when he was hit.

The impact of the train threw the teen “as if he was hit by a car,” the witness said.

Police, firefighters, paramedics and search-and-rescue crews responded, along with the Coast Guard Hovercraft. The coroner also attended.

As word of the incident spread on social media, parents of some of the teens – reportedly including those of the victim – arrived at the scene.

Thursday morning, a bouquet of flowers was placed on a rock at the entrance of Christopherson Stairs, and a green lei hung on a bush near the tracks, next to a black camping chair. In the bush behind the chair, a smashed cellphone with a photo of two teens on the back was found by a PAN reporter shortly after 8 a.m.

Two RCMP investigators met with PAN at the scene to retrieve the phone and take a statement. Police took multiple photographs of where the phone was located and a nearby fire pit.

Wednesday evening, a passenger aboard the Amtrak Cascades 518 told the North Delta Reporter the northbound train came to an abrupt stop at around 10 p.m., just after crossing the Canada/U.S. border.

Evan Hagedorn – a recently graduated journalism student who interned with the Reporter this spring – said an Amtrak employee told passengers that there was an emergency on the tracks.

Emergency crews could be seen outside the train shortly after, and passengers were provided with a more detailed update roughly half an hour later, Hagedorn said.

“They came over the speaker and then they said that there was a group of teenagers on the beach and then a group of them on the tracks, and we had struck one of them. They were on the tracks and then we struck one of them and then that’s why we were stopped,” he said.

Hagedorn said that in a subsequent update at 11:24 p.m., passengers were informed that the coroner was en route, and that the train’s engineer, conductor and witnesses to the accident had been interviewed by investigators.

The train was delayed 4½ hours.

Many commenters on Facebook have expressed condolences to the teen’s family, along with “prayers for engineers on this train as they’ll suffer for (a) very long time from PTSD over this accident that wasn’t their fault.”

“Unfortunate for everyone involved,” writes Nolan Val.

There is also speculation as to why the teen was on the tracks, however, police have only commented that “circumstances of the incident are still under investigation.”

BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas told PAN the tragedy is the first train fatality on BNSF tracks in B.C. this year. There have been nine in Washington State.

“This is the first of the year in British Columbia,” Melonas said Thursday. “That’s one too many.”

Crews have been “aggressively” patrolling the tracks between White Rock and Crescent Beach, he said, noting 15 violation tickets for trespassing were issued in the two days prior to the tragedy.

“We’re going to be out again today,” Melonas said Thursday.

“We’re going to be aggressively patrolling, not to be bullies, but to save lives.

“These trains can’t stop.”

Anyone with information regarding Wednesday’s fatality is asked to contact the Surrey General investigation Unit at 604-599-0502 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, quoting file number 2018-96971.

– files from Aaron Hinks

 

Police tape near the stairs leading up to 24 Avenue. (Aaron Hinks photo)

A chair and lei found Thursday morning near the scene of where a teenager was struck by a passenger train. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Just Posted

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

BREAKING: Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Pedestrian airlifted following South Surrey collision

Police say initial indications are the victim was crossing mid-block when he was struck

ZYTARUK: You don’t have to wear the ribbon – but look out if you don’t

Demonize and dog-pile. If you disagree with me, you are not only wrong, you are evil. The enemy…

Cloverdale students successfully petition city for school crosswalk

Safety concerns lead to petition project, new crosswalk for students and shoppers

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Most Read