Dog killed by SkyTrain that shouldn’t have been moving, says TransLink employee
The dog that was killed by an oncoming SkyTrain over the weekend didn’t need to die, according to a TransLink employee who heard the ordeal unfold on staff radios.
A SkyTrain worker who wishes to remain anonymous said the dog, Maggie, was hit by a train that should not have been moving.
The 20 to 30-minute ordeal between the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue Stations on Saturday began when a dog in the off-leash area of Trout Lake Park got spooked by some firecrackers and bolted. She ended up at Naniamo Station where she jumped onto the tracks and began travelling toward 29th Avenue Station.
According to the employee, when Maggie got to 29th, a SkyTrain attendant tried to corral her but she got spooked and started back toward Nanaimo.
“The SkyTrain attendant at Nanaimo Station got on a train and travelled toward the dog at a reduced speed to try to push the dog back toward 29th,” the employee told Global News.
“When he got close to the dog, he emergency-braked the train, tried to get the dog onto the train, but that was unsuccessful.”
They said at that point the SkyTrain control operator got on the radio and said: “Well, we can’t hold up the trains all night. Maybe the dog has to go on its way.”
A few minutes went by as attendants scrambled to find a way to get the Maggie off the track. The control operator then announced they would be running the trains, according to the employee.
At that point the train began moving in the direction of the dog.
WATCH: President and General Manager Vivienne King spoke to media Tuesday about the death of the dog Maggie on the SkyTrain tracks last Saturday afternoon.
“Shortly after that, I heard the SkyTrain attendant who was still in between [stations] say, ‘The dog is on the limb.'”
The employee explained the limb is the large silver part of the track that is right in the middle of the guideway.
“He said, ‘He’s on the limb, that train is heading straight for him. [Emergency-brake] that train.’ There were a few seconds of pause and the control operator said, ‘Train [emergency-braked].'”
But according to the employee, the operator didn’t stop the train fast enough.
“The SkyTrain attendant said, ‘Well, it’s a little late, the dog is no longer a problem.'”
Staff then had to retrieve the dog’s body and bring it back to the station.
But the employee says the tragic ending could have been avoided.
“They knew the dog was still in the track area, that the track area was not clear… they were still in discussion about how best to get the dog out when the control operator ran the trains where the dog was.”
They said the control operator sounded frustrated and impatient with the situation over the radio, but weren’t sure whose decision it was to run the train through that section of track at that moment.
TransLink hasn’t issued a formal statement, but a spokesperson told Global News that transit staff had tried to coax Maggie back onto the platform at Nanaimo, during which time the trains were stopped. According to them, Maggie did jump back onto the platform, allowing trains to start again, but she jumped back down to the tracks and was hit even though the emergency brakes would have been triggered.
Had Maggie just jumped in front of the train from a platform, the train would have automatically braked and the attendant wouldn’t have needed to ask for an emergency brake, the employee argued.
The employee is speaking out because they feel the situation was mishandled, and Maggie’s owner is owed the truth.
“If that was my dog I would want to know what actually happened… and I would want to know that that was not going to happen again to somebody else’s pet,
they said. “Because it’s not OK that that happened. It shouldn’t have happened.”
The B.C. SPCA says it is investigating the incident.
TransLink has stated they will be launching an investigation into what happened as they have received “conflicting reports” on the events and timeline.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.