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Freight Train Hits Group Walking on Washington Bridge, Killing 2

June 01, 2004|From Associated Press

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. — A freight train plowed into a group of people walking across a railroad bridge Monday, killing two. Three others were injured.

Gus Melonas, a spokesman for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, said a 33-year-old man from Ridgefield and a 12-year-old girl who was the man's neighbor were killed.

The southbound train, on its way from Seattle to Portland, Ore., was crossing a bridge over the Lewis River when the accident occurred about 13 miles north of Vancouver in southwest Washington.

Melonas described the group as a father, his two sons, the son of the father's girlfriend, and a girl who was the father's neighbor.

Three people were taken to hospitals, KGW Television in Portland reported. No information was immediately available on their conditions, although the station said one person had minor cuts and bruises.

The bridge links Ridgefield and the town of Woodland, directly to the north. The only land route involves driving a car on Interstate 5, said local resident Joel Natterstad, 28.

Until about five years ago, an 8-foot-wide plank jutting out from the tracks provided a haven for those crossing the bridge if a train came, he said.

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