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Updated: 6th January 2019 18:00


Heads up at LRT crossings, city reminds

Calgary officials released surveillance footage of some unsafe practices near C-Trains to remind riders to pay attention near crossings following one fatality and another serious injury involving the LRT this week.

66 C-Train deaths since Calgary brought in the LRT in 1981

Calgary Transit surveillance video of C-Train hitting pedestrian, who survived, at Shawnessy Station last month.

After one fatality and another serious injury involving the LRT in Calgary this week, officials are reminding pedestrians to pay attention to the safety devices around the trains.

Karnail Kaur Brar, 49, died after she was struck by a C-Train as she crossed 36th Street N.E. south of the Whitehorn station on Monday morning.

Surveillance footage suggests she was distracted by a hand-held device as she crossed, said police.

A woman died on Monday morning after she was struck by a C-Train south of the Whitehorn LRT station. ((Mark Matulis/CBC))

On Tuesday evening a man in his 20s was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after he crossed in front of a train at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street S.W.

There have been five deaths in the past three months at C-Train stations, although two are believed to be suicides.

C-Train driver Mauro D'orazio will never forget when he hit and killed a pedestrian last August.

"They watched the train clear the other way, they think it's cleared then they start walking, that was my accident," he said. "I closed my eyes to tell you the truth, there was nothing I could do. I closed my eyes on impact."

D'orazio says he hasn't had an accident since, but said everyday there are far too many close calls.

Witnesses can experience shock

After two serious collisions between C-Trains and pedestrians since Monday, including one fatality, the Calgary Counselling Centre says it’s normal for witnesses to react from the experience.

The centre says any witness of either recent C-train accident should seek help if they experience Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms, like reliving the event, finding yourself numb or getting surprised easily.

"PTS is a type of anxiety response," said counselling supervisor Kim Busch. "It can occur if you’ve seen or experienced a traumatic event."

People react differently to situations, says Busch, so if two friends were present at the scene of an accident their reaction to the situation may be completely different. 

"If you have symptoms that are out of normal behaviour for you, that don’t go away, don’t worry that what you’re experiencing is unique. Seek help," Busch said.

Pedestrians and motorists need to pay attention to all crossing barrier arms, warning lights and tones that are activated when a train is in motion, officials said as they released three cautionary videos Wednesday.

One of them shows a distracted pedestrian being hit by a train in November at Shawnessy station.

Brian Whitelaw, the head of transit security, says given the recent accidents Calgary transit will now review the safety measures it has in place.

Earlier this year police officers worked with Calgary Transit officials to crack down on jaywalking at the Marlborough and Whitehorn stations.

Transit officers issued 107 tickets and police wrote another 97, the city said.

Peace officers asked people why they crossed against the lights and signals. Many said they looked both ways and thought it was OK to cross.  Others said they were simply following the crowd, officials said.

Safety expert Joe Leil says he couldn't believe what he witnessed along 36th Street when he went to check out the Whitehorn station.

"The walk light will come on and all of a sudden the train light will come down," he said. "Now we're stuck in the middle, which is not a very big spot, and there's not really room to say get out of the way."

Leil says there should be a walkway over the road, or at least gates blocking the tracks. There have been four deaths along that stretch of the LRT in the last 18 months.

Articled from the CBC RSS Syndication CBC.ca - RSS Feeds Copyright is that of their respective owners (CBC) Calgary News Releases

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