Man struck, killed by train at Carkeek Park

Man struck, killed by train at Carkeek Park
Two people leave the scene in tears after witnessing the fatal accident.
SEATTLE - A man in his early 20s was struck and killed Saturday night by a freight train at Seattle's Carkeek Park.

Police detective Jeff Kappel says the accident occurred just before 9 p.m. about 100 yards north of a pedestrian walkway at the park.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train had just left Seattle bound for Chicago when it suddenly encountered a number of people on the tracks at the park, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.

The people scattered as the train blasted its horn and hit the emergency brakes. But one man didn't make it off the tracks and the train couldn't avoid hitting him, Melonas said.

Several people heard or saw the horrific accident, including Mateiaullah Saleem of Seattle, who was on the beach playing catch with friends.

"We heard the horn and everything and all of a sudden you could just hear the brakes squeaking and (the train) was stopping all of a sudden," he said. "We turned around and you could hear somebody just screaming in horror. There was a couple of people right there by the train tracks, and they had one of their friends who was unfortunately hit by the train."

He said it appeared that that the group of people had been on the beach when the high tide came in and were walking along the tracks to get back up to the park grounds.

"They must have thought they could get by even while the train was passing right by them, and unfortunately it's a tragic situation," he said.

"Something like this always seems to happen here. People don't usually take it seriously, saying the train's gonna hit you. ... They don't read the warnings out there - unfortunately he got hit."

The train stopped after the accident and the tracks were shut down for an investigation, officials said. The track were reopened at about midnight.