[Update 10:41a.m.: This article has updated with new details from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.]
Four individuals, three who were researching at UCSB as visiting scholars, were involved in a train collision Saturday evening on a bridge near Vista Point that left one woman dead and two other people injured.
According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman, Mike Eliason, the group was walking down the train train tracks around 6 pm taking pictures of the sunset when the train struck the group. Eliason also said the woman was struck and killed at the scene and that a male member of the group suffered severe injuries to the head and chest and was airlifted to the trauma center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. A second female also suffered moderate injuries to the head and chest and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by ambulance.
Eliason said that people who approach train tracks should use caution and minimize their time on the tracks because modern trains make less noise.
“Trains these days are a lot more efficient and a lot quieter than they used to be,” Eliason said. “They can come up on you quickly and you might not realize it until its too late.”
According to Eliason the train was traveling at track speed, between 50 and 60mph, when it approached the group and that the engineer sounded the horn upon seeing the group but was unable to stop the train in time.
Due to privacy laws, the names of the three victims and the fourth group member who was a witness have not yet been released. According to Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the Sheriff’s Office is working with the Chinese consulate and UCSB to notify the next of kin of the deceased.
Vista Point is a popular turn out for California tourists along Highway 101 and is located approximately 20 miles northwest of campus.
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.