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

Sites are being considered for a new pipe that will see treated effluent from the Joint Utilities Board’s sewage treatment plant near Duncan diverted away from the Cowichan River and Cowichan estuary (pictured) to an outflow site in Satellite Channel. (File photo)
Possible routes identified for new Cowichan sewage pipe

Public input will be sought in decision

Sierra Robinson, 17, is one of 15 youths suing the Canadian government for failing to take action on climate change. (Facebook)
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Duncan B&E suspect caught in the act by RCMP

37-year-old Parksville man facing several charges

The road into Crofton will be a lot nicer when the roller coaster bumps are taken out of Crofton Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton Road improvements to start taking shape Nov. 2

It’ll be a long haul until next summer to get it done and motorists should expect delays

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Most Read