AN elderly man died yesterday when he was hit by a Manacor-bound train on a level crossing near Consell railway station.
Guardia Civil sources confirmed that the tragedy happened at 11.30 Tuesday morning, when the 73-year-old, identified as Andres V.C., attempted to cross the railway lines at a point where there were no level crossing barriers. He was hit by a train travelling in the direction of Manacor.
The driver of the train, who had already begun to slow down as he approached Consell station, activated alarm systems triggering the emergency braking systems but it was too late to avoid collision with the man who failed to get out of the way of the moving train. Initial investigations point to the possibility that the man, who could have been suffering from some kind of senile dementia, was not able to react swiftly enough in the face of the oncoming train. Andres V.C., died at the scene of the accident.
Nearly 200 passengers who were travelling on the train were obliged to remain seated for two hours while the Guardia Civil prepared their necessary reports. A legal officer finally ordered the body to be removed from the scene.
Rafael Pons, the managing director of the Majorcan Railway Service (SFM) expressed deep regret at the death of the elderly man, who, he said had remained transfixed on the line, as if the train hadn't existed. Pons explained that, following the accident, the railway service was interrupted for a while until operations were eventually normalised.
The train involved in the tragedy was later taken to service installations at Son Rullan.
The railway company and Consell Town Council, which had previously asked for automatic barriers to be fitted at the level crossings in the district, had recently given the go-ahead for a project to eliminate both level crossings. The project also was to study the possibility of building two raised bridges over the track as an alternative means of getting from one side to the other. The accident scene was later visited by safety experts and the Balearic Minister for Public Works and Transport who was given a thorough explanation of what happened. They discussed ways of making sure such a tragedy never happens again.
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