A witness has described a woman trying to free her wheelchair from rail tracks and a bystander jumping in to help, moments before she was hit by a train in Auckland this morning.
The woman is fighting for her life after being struck at Morningside, Auckland, this morning.
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The freight train hit the woman and another person, who has minor injuries, at a level crossing shortly after 9am.
Traumatised bystanders told of their desperate attempts to free the woman.
She began crossing the tracks while the barrier arms were up, but became stuck as a train approached and tried to come to a halt.
Witnesses said it appeared one of the electric chair's wheels had got stuck.
A male and a female bystander each came to her aid, with the female suffering minor injuries as she dived out of the way at the last minute. She is speaking with police at the scene.
The wheelchair-bound woman suffered serious injuries and was taken to Auckland Hospital.
Onlookers said her chair could be seen laying underneath the train.
A man who was waiting to cross the tracks in his car said as it was a freight train it would not stop at Morningside Station, so was approaching the station with some speed.
"You could see it was hard on the brakes . . . the horn was going but there was no screeching," he said.
Megan, who did not want to give her last name, was also in the queue to cross the railway lines and saw the desperate attempts to save the woman.
"I just saw her trying to wrestle the mobility scooter free . . . then a superman jumped on to the track to try and help her," she said.
"I just sat in the car for a minute saying 'did that really happen?'"
Train services between Kingsland and Avondale on the Western Line have been halted due to the incident and buses will run in their place.
Traffic is also disrupted at Morningside Dr as the train is stopped across the road.
* An earlier version of this story reported the woman began crossing the tracks while the barrier arms were down.
- © Fairfax NZ News