WATCH: Train full of logs strikes crew working on the tracks then derails in Woss subdivision, killing three people and injuring two others. Dean Stoltz reports.
A third worker has now died after a devastating train derailment in Woss on Northern Vancouver Island.
Rescue crews converged on the tiny community after word that a logging train had derailed trapping five people.
It happened around 8:30 Thursday morning and rescue crews worked into the afternoon trying to save the last victim trapped in the logs.
“The efforts to get the final patients out were nothing short of heroic,” said Nat Pottage, Port Hardy Unit Chief for the B.C. Ambulance Service (BCAS). “There was a lot of logs to be moved. Very, very tricky with a superbly unstable working surface.”
He and two other people were rushed to hospitals in Campbell River and Victoria but two others were pronounced dead at the scene.
CHEK News has been told the rail cars were being loaded farther up the tracks in a re-load yard when a cable may have snapped, releasing the train cars.
They then rolled down the tracks hitting a crew working with some equipment before derailing and spilling the logs close to several homes in a Woss subdivision.
“The first two I believe were on the road,” said Pottage. “They extricated themselves and were out on the logging road when the first ambulance arrived.”
An air ambulance stayed on standby all afternoon while friends and co-workers of the victims stood nearby, quietly waiting for updates.
The victim’s employer, Western Forest Products, said this to CHEK News in a statement: “We are aware of the incident and saddened by it. The safety and security of our staff and community is very important to us.”
It’s not known where the victims are from and no names have been released.
First responders were debriefed after the lengthy rescue.
“It went as well as it could,” said Pottage.