Friday, December 24, 2010

Rail officials in California investigate how a wheelchair user became lodged under a freight train


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Union Pacific officials were investigating why a wheelchair-bound man was trying to access railroad property prior to becoming lodged under a freight train and having to be rescued, a spokesman said.

A call came in to the Oakland Fire Department at 3:46 a.m. Dec. 22 reporting a man pinned under a train at Broadway and Embarcadero West, which is four blocks from the Amtrak California Oakland Jack London station, a fire dispatcher said.

Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said the incident occurred about 50 feet south of a designated railroad crossing and that lights and gates at the crossing were operational at the time.

"It appears the man went around the gates to access railroad property," Hunt said Wednesday.

Oakland firefighters performed the rescue of the unidentified man, and the train departed the area at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Hunt said.

Information about the man's condition or how he became lodged under the train was not immediately available.

Authorities said that they are trying to determine if the incident was a suicide attempt or an accident.