California Railroad Accident: Couples Seeking Sunset Shots Struck By Train In Santa Barbara

Two couples looking for the ideal vantage point to shoot some pictures of a Santa Barbara, California, sunset on Saturday evening were surprised by a train that came around the corner and struck three of them.

One woman tragically lost her life, while another woman and one of the men were injured. Another man escaped the train accident unharmed.

According to a Christian Science Monitor report, the two couples had walked out on a railroad trestle to capture some sunset photos. When they realized a train was coming, the four ran to try to escape but were unable to clear the trestle in time, leading to the tragic train accident.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department told KSBY that the two women and two men were all in their 20s, and the railroad tracks they had followed to take sunset pictures lead out onto the Vista Point trestle, just north of Refugio State Beach, where they were struck by the train.

The woman who was killed was knocked off the trestle, falling to the ground several feet below. The other woman escaped with only moderate injuries, and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

The male that was struck, however, sustained major injuries to his upper extremities, mid-section, and head. He was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital. The other man was the only one of the four to escape injury. After being examined by medical personnel at the scene, he was able to drive himself from the tragic scene, going to the hospital to be with his injured friends.

None of the four involved in the incident were identified, and some of the area rail lines were shut down.

This latest California railroad accident adds to evidence that people getting hit by trains is a dangerous rising trend nationwide, according to the Christian Science Monitor. One report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saw a 25 percent increase in fatal pedestrian vs. train accidents from 2012 to 2013.

Poor judgement is most often the cause of train accidents involving pedestrians, and fencing off train tracks is often impractical, particularly in rural areas like where the trestle was located in Saturday’s accident.

Examples of poor judgement that are most often behind both pedestrian and motorist involved train accidents include misjudging a train’s speed, particularly if trying to beat a train across the tracks, use of distracting electronic devices, intoxication, and immediately crossing tracks just after a train has passed while failing to see a train coming from the other direction.

[Image via Flickr]