Camper van hit broadside by freight train travelling 80 km/h near Broadview
By Markham Hislop
Three Alberta children were killed near Broadview, Sask. Thursday evening when their camper van was struck by a CP freight train at an uncontrolled crossing.
An 11-year-old girl from Chestermere, Alta., a seven-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl from Turner Valley, Alta., and an 18-year-old woman from the Whitewood, Sask. district died in the horrific crash.
A 15-year-old boy was driving the van. He suffered severe injuries and was transported to Regina by STARS air ambulance.
A 42-year old adult, mother of the driver and the children from Turner Valley, was transported to Broadview with undetermined injuries.
The 11-year old girl from Chestermere and woman from Whitewood were not related to the mother and her children, nor were they related to each other, according to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Rob King.
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The accident occurred five kilometres east of Broadview on a grid road south of Highway 1, east of Regina. Broadview is 151 kilometres east of Regina on Highway 1.
Cpl. King says the 2007 Ford van chassis had a fibreglass camper body, which was completely destroyed when the eastbound train struck it broadside travelling approximately 80 kilometres per hour.
The 15-year old driver had a beginner’s driving licence. According to Cpl. King, in both Saskatchewan and Alberta permit 15-year olds to drive as along as they are accompanied by a responsible adult who is not prohibited from driving.
An RCMP reconstruction analyst is on the scene trying to piece together how the accident happened, according to Cpl. King. He says the van was travelling westbound, when it turned south onto the grid road. The railway tracks run parallel to the highway and the crossing is a short distance from the turn off. The reconstruction report will take about 90 days to complete.
“CP Rail’s heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved in this unfortunate incident,” said spokesperson Kevin Hrysak.
Hrysak says the company can’t provide any details of the accident at this time.
“All I can tell you at this point is it is under investigation and we are fully cooperating with the local RCMP,” he said.
Wreckage from the accident has been cleared from the crossing and the track is once again operational, according to Hrysak.
He says the crew has been relieved of duty according to CP policy and has been offered counselling.
Cpl. King says the RCMP has a Victim’s Services unit which will offer counselling to members after they have been debriefed. In his experience, he says, members usually take advantage of the opportunity to speak to a trained professional after working accident scenes where children have died.