An 11-year-old girl lost her right leg earlier today after she was struck by a slow-moving train along the Kingsessing section in Philadelphia.
According to the Philadelphia Fire Department, the girl was hit by the train around 2 pm at Grays Avenue and 56th Street. Police say she was walking with friends along an off-limits area of the tracks when she tripped and fell under the train.
The girl was dragged over 500 feet before the train was able to stop. The accident crushed her left leg and amputated her right leg. She was transported to Children’s Hospital and listed in critical condition.
Train accidents are more common than many believe. While many people think of derailments or collisions, train accidents can also be the result of unsafe intersections, negligent train operation, or carelessness on the part of drivers or pedestrians. An estimated 500 people are killed every year while walking on railroad tracks, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Only recently has federal law required that railroads report GPS coordinates of crashes, including collisions with pedestrians, to better identify hotspots for injuries and fatalities. Experts warn that barriers and education campaigns aren’t enough to prevent these pedestrian train accidents as people already know its risky but take the calculated risk for convenience. One simple measure that has been found to save lives is requiring a whistle or warning sound as a train approaches a populated area or bridge.