A 60-year-old woman is in a critical condition after she was hit by a train in Blenheim yesterday morning.
The woman was walking across Redwood St near the Main St roundabout when she walked in front of a KiwiRail freight train heading south about 8.30am.
Police said the train driver sounded his horn but was unable to avoid the woman.
KiwiRail said the barrier arms, lights and bells at the crossing were working at the time.
St John Marlborough territory manager Murray Neal said the woman had a serious head injury and injuries to her left arm.
She was not responsive and in a serious condition when ambulance crews arrived, he said.
An ambulance took her to Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim.
Blenheim man Nilesh Narayan said he was waiting at the Main St roundabout, the intersection of several main roads in central Blenheim, when he saw the woman walk in front of the train.
‘‘I was waiting at the roundabout because the train was going through the roundabout and I saw a woman walking from Pitstop [on Redwood St] crossing over towards the New World on the other side of the road and she just walked into the train.’’
He jumped out of his car and went to see if he could help her.
‘‘I went across to see if she was OK and she was laying down and was in bad shape,’’ he said.
Mechanic Justin Kenward, who was at One Stop Brake & Auto on Redwood St opposite where the woman was hit, said he heard the train sounding its horn before the collision.
He was sitting in the office when he heard the train coming.
‘‘He [the driver] sounded it once coming up to the roundabout, then he was on it for about five seconds,’’ he said.
The train driver hit the brakes and came to a stop about 200 metres further along the track.
It wasn’t the first time a pedestrian had been hit by a train at the intersection, Kenward said.
He often saw people walking along Redwood St not paying attention to their surroundings.
People regularly crossed the intersection while listening to music and playing on their phones, he said.
‘‘I’ve seen a lot of close calls,’’ he said.
‘‘It’ll probably happen again.’’
A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the driver of the train would be given time off and offered counselling, which was standard practice.
A pedestrian was hit on the northern footpath in 2008, she said.
There had been no road collisions since the roundabout was set up in 2000.
KiwiRail’s first priority was for the welfare of those involved, she said.
‘‘Our thoughts are with the pedestrian and her family.’’
Traffic was backed up for about an hour and police set up detours. The Serious Crash Unit was investigating the incident.
- The Marlborough Express
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