Troutdale teen killed Union Pacific freight train while taking photos along railway tracks with another teen to mark victim’s senior high school year.
A 17 year old Oregon teenage boy was killed by a train near the Troutdale Bridge while taking his senior photos on Saturday evening, police said.
A Union Pacific train struck the 17-year-old near the Columbia River Highway, near Troutdale, according to a statement from Union Pacific.
Troutdale is a city of about 16,000 people on the Columbia River just northeast of Portland.
Why didn’t the teen get out of the way of approaching train?
Multnomah County Sheriff deputies responded to a call that a teenager had been hit by a train and found the youth dead at the scene, according to a statement. The train crew was not hurt, according to Union Pacific.
Authorities said the teen and another person were on the tracks taking photos to mark the boy’s senior year in high school when he was struck and killed by an oncoming Union Pacific freight train.
The other person, a female photographer, was ‘very shaken up’ by the incident, officials told FOX12.
Not immediately clear is why the un-named teen didn’t get out of the way of the approaching train?
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. The teen’s identity has not been released by the medical examiner Oregon Live reports.
‘Our thoughts are with the teen’s family and friends. We plead with parents, students and photographers to not take photos on or near the tracks,’ the Union Pacific statement reads.
TRAGIC: @UnionPacific says a 17-year-old boy was killed by one of its trains last night while taking senior photos on the tracks near E Columbia River Hwy in Troutdale. @MultCoSO is investigating what led up to the teen getting hit. #LiveOnK2 pic.twitter.com/aiua2aarqK
— Catherine Van (@cat08van) November 4, 2019
560 trespasser fatalities on railroad tracks nationwide in 2017:
The area where the tragedy took place has fences nearby and signs posted that warn ‘No Trespassing’. In addition to ‘No Trespassing’ stencils are emblazoned on the tracks themselves.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 560 trespasser fatalities on railroad tracks nationwide in 2017, an increase of 80 from the previous year. The trend in rail trespasser fatalities has “substantially increased” over a 10-year period, with a 25 percent increase over a decade, according to the agency.
‘Trespassing on railroad property is the leading cause of all rail-related deaths in the United States,’ the Federal Railroad Administration said in an October 2018 report. “More people are struck and killed by trains each year while trespassing – illegally entering or remaining on a railroad right-of-way – than in motor vehicle collisions with trains at highway-rail grade crossings.”
For those who do walk along train tracks, officials stress that oncoming trains are not able to stop quickly. A train traveling at 55 mph takes a mile or more to come to a complete stop, according to the FRA.
Operation Lifesaver, the nonprofit rail safety education organization, has also urged photographers considering a photoshoot on tracks to go elsewhere.
‘An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train’s distance from you – and its speed,’ according to the group.