A man and a girl were hit by a train and killed while fishing from a railroad bridge, and a boy who was with them survived by dropping roughly 9 metres to the ground below, officials said.
The Norfolk Southern train was traveling near Chilhowie (pronounced (CHILHL'-how-ee) in rural southwestern Virginia about 2pm Sunday (local time) when its crew saw the group and put on the emergency brakes, spokesman Robin Chapman said. The man and the girl tried to stand off to the side on the bridge, but were still hit by the train.
"There's no room on a trestle. When the train comes by, it takes up the entire width of the bridge," he said.
The boy dropped between the rails, which were about 7 to 9 metres high, but it wasn't clear whether he went into water or on the ground, Chapman said. He was initially reported missing, but showed up at a relative's house several hours later. He was taken to a hospital, but didn't have any signs of injuries, Chapman said.
The Smyth County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the man was 52 years old, the girl was 7 and the boy was 8. The release did not identify them and a police dispatcher said no one was immediately available to talk.
The bridge was about 60 metres long. The mixed freight train consisted of three locomotives and 74 cars and the track speed was 72 kilometres per hour. Chapman said a train that size traveling at that speed would take about 1.6 kilometres to stop.