The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has identified Mingyue Yuan as the 26-year-old UCSB visiting scholar who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train on Saturday evening at Vista Point.

Yuan and three others were on a trestle on the tracks taking pictures of the sunset at about 6 p.m. on Saturday when they were struck by the train. Yuan was killed instantly and thrown from the bridge, while a female companion suffered moderate physical injury to the head and chest and a male companion suffered severe physical injuries to their upper extremities and was airlifted to the trauma center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Their current conditions are unknown.

According to UCSB Director of News and Media Relations, George Foulsham, Mingyue was working in the lab of Carla D’Antonio, professor in the department of ecology, evolution, and marine biology,  and Tom Dudley, an associate research biologist with the Marine Science Institute. Foulsham said Mingyue had been working with them for just two weeks.

D’Antonio and Dudley issued a statement following Yuan’s death, provided by Foulsham.

“Mingyue Yuan had in her short time here made a very strong contribution to the spirit and energy of our lab. She was very excited to be getting started on a research project and to build new friendships and collaborations in the US,” the pair said in the statement. “She was a vibrant person who had an amazing effect on those who met her as she was so positive and joyful. We are devastated by this tragic loss.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office the Chinese consulate and UCSB assisted the Sheriff’s Office in making a next of kin notification in China.


This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.