Train kills man trying to pull dog off tracks

July 4, 2009 

TRAPPER CREEK -- A 42-year-old man was killed Saturday afternoon while trying to rescue a dog from a train track south of Trapper Creek. The man's family was still being notified so his identity was not immediately available.

He was reaching to pull a Labrador retriever to safety off the tracks when the passenger train struck him, according to Alaska Railroad spokesman Tim Thompson.

The dog was also killed.

Operators started braking when they saw the man and dog but a train cannot stopimmediately, Thompson said. Even a slow-moving train needs several hundred feet to come to rest, he said.

"There was no way they could have stopped in the amount of time they were given," he said.

The man was thrown from the tracks and died at the scene.

"The train crew did everything they've been trained to do, in standard order," Thompson said.

The accident happened at 2 p.m. about 10 miles south of Trapper Creek, near Montana Creek. Montana Creek is a popular fishing spot in the Mat-Su.

The train was fully loaded with passengers traveling from Denali to Whittier.

The train proceeded south after several hours.

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