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Freight train aids police following beach distress call

Emergency team, patient transported ‘quarter-mile’ by train

Reports of a possible drowning off White Rock’s West Beach Monday led to an emergency train stop for BNSF and a short ride along the tracks for the emergency crew that responded.

According to marine search and rescue (RCM-SAR5) officials, a woman was located unconscious on the beach about a kilometre west of the boat launch.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said the co-ordinated effort to transport her from the rocky terrain of West Beach to waiting emergency vehicles Monday morning was a “rare situation.”

Melonas said White Rock RCMP first contacted BNSF’s dispatching office around 11 a.m. Monday to ask that a southbound freight train make an emergency stop so that police could cross the tracks “approximately one-half mile to the north of the north steps” to investigate a “distress call.”

Police then requested assistance in transporting an injured individual to waiting emergency vehicles.

“The terrain was just too rugged to walk this individual a significant distance,” Melonas said. “We positioned (the train) closer to the individuals… so it was an easier climb to the locomotive.”

The emergency team and patient were transported in the cab of the lead locomotive, Melonas said.

He did not have details of the incident that prompted the call, but said the entire process took about an hour and prompted “a handful” of calls to BNSF from people curious about what had transpired.

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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