A collision between a train and a car at a Langley rail crossing Sunday has left an elderly couple dead.
The incident happened around 9:40 a.m. Sunday near the Langley Bypass at Glover Road.
Staff Sgt. David Brown with the Langley RCMP said a small, older-model car somehow got onto the tracks when a westbound train was coming, and the vehicle was struck.
“The vehicle was pushed quite some distance. When we got to the vehicle, we discovered two persons inside. Life-saving efforts were immediately commenced, and unfortunately we have a double fatal,” he said.
WATCH: Have we learned the lessons from the 2015 ambulance train crash?
Brown said police were interviewing witnesses and trying to piece together the circumstances leading up to the collision.
“It’s a well-marked crossing. At this point, we’re still investigating why this vehicle was on the tracks at that time,” Brown said.
“It’s a very busy bypass that most people would recognize. It has the arms that come down and flashing lights, and we are still trying to understand what happened.”
Investigators say it appears the car stopped on the tracks, and then the crossing arms came down.
“It’s hard to understand what happened here. We don’t know if it was mechanical or a medical incident or some other reason,” said Brown.
“What I heard was the screeching brakes and the long train horn,” one witness told Global News.
“And when I stepped out here, I seen the train screeching to a stop.”
The collision involved a CN train using CP Rail tracks, and along with the Langley RCMP’s traffic services, Brown said CP police were also investigating.
WATCH: Langley deputy fire chief gives update on fatal train accident
“Langley City and the Township is a very busy rail corridor here. We have over 30 trains a day, 15,000 cars going through here at any given time,” said Deputy fire Chief Brian Godlonton.
“So as much as there’s a lot of preventative stuff here, it was an unfortunate accident that we’ll have to determine if it could have been prevented.”
In a statement CN Rail said its thoughts were with those affected by the incident, but that it could not comment further with CN and CP police assisting the investigation.
It’s not the first time there has been a fatality involving a vehicle and a train in the area.
WATCH: Distraction was a factor in deadly train/ambulance crash
In 2015, an ambulance was struck while crossing the same rail line, about 2.5 kilometres away. Investigators in that case determined driver distraction and a confusing crossing design led to that collision.
The Transportation Safety Board made several recommendations after the collision, including warning lights, barriers and signage to prevent drivers from getting into the danger zone.
“In the past several years there’s been millions of dollars spent on rail safety, and that’s — gosh, I don’t know how many overpasses that go through Langley now,” said Langley City Deputy Mayor Gayle Martin.
The Langley Bypass was reopened to traffic around 2:30 p.m.
-With files from Julia Foy and Tanya Beja