Commuters on a West Coast Express train were delayed this morning after the train hit a bear.
The accident occurred just a few minutes after Train 5 left the station in Mission, heading westbound.
Kimberley McMillan says she was on the train heading downtown when there was a large bump.
“We felt it coming under, it made a lot of bumping, I thought it was a bunch of sticks, but the driver said they hit an animal on the tracks. When they went back to check on it, we heard the people say it was a bear.”
McMillan says the train had sounded its horn before the impact with the bear.
“Before we hit it they were blasting the horn which I thought was strange since we weren’t near any crossings.”
Translink announced the delay on twitter, saying there was a mechanical issue, but there was no mention of any bear strike.
Passengers sent tweets to Translink, asking for clarification:
Translink responded, saying it was simply a mechanical issue.
McMillan doesn’t understand why Translink is so reluctant to say they hit a bear.
“They said it’s just a mechanical issue, which makes it sounds like it was just the train, but well, we hit a bear and then there was a mechanical issue. It happens, you hit wildlife, I’ve seen deer on the side of the road on the highway.”
Translink spokesperson Jiana Ling confirmed to Global News Thursday afternoon that the train did in fact strike a bear.
She says the only damage to the train was a mechanical issue, which was fixed within 20 minutes. Ling says their first priority was getting commuters to their destinations with minimal delay.
“It is for sure a mechanical issue and that’s all we can confirm, it takes time to figure out what actually happened,” says Ling. “Our first priority is to make sure our customers are safe and that they get to where they need to be.”
There’s no word on the bear’s condition.