lakeshore west go train

Pedestrian wearing ear buds nearly killed by GO Train he didn't hear coming

A 22-year-old man is lucky to be alive this morning after being clipped by a speeding commuter train in Oakville while walking with ear buds in.

The pedestrian was crossing a set of railway tracks near the Bronte GO station shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday night, according to Metrolinx, when he was struck by a train and sent flying through the air.

"Our crew was sure he was dead, as he was thrown so far," said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins to blogTO on Thursday, explaining that the train had miraculously only clipped the young man's backpack and that he survived the ordeal.

"Is he in hospital? Yes, with serious injuries but expected to survive, fortunately."

Halton Police confirmed that the train struck the pedestrian's backpack while going approximately 100 km/h, lifting him several metres off his feet and throwing him into the air. The backpack was reportedly torn right off the man's body and later found further down the tracks.

While he did survive and is expected to make a full recovery, the young man is no doubt shaken up, as are the train's crew members.

"These are some of our worst nightmare situations," said Aikins of the incident to blogTO. "[It] must have been terrifying for him and our staff. We get close calls regularly and sadly experience accidental fatalities every year."

"Our crews were traumatized but so relieved," the Metrolinx spokesperson tweeted similarly on Thursday morning. "Please, please be careful at crossings. You may not be so lucky."

And the scariest part of the incident is that train operators tried to warn the pedestrian, desperately blaring the vehicle's horn as they approached the crossing.

He didn't hear them.

Aikins says headphones are thought to have prevented the 22-year-old from hearing the horns, bells, or even the large train itself barrelling down the tracks.

Halton Police told CityNews last night that "he was wearing ear buds and could not hear the approaching GO train or the warning bells," while Aikins told blogTO that he also somehow missed the flashing lights and arm engaging.

Officials continue to implore all pedestrians, motorists and passengers to be careful around active train tracks. As the time-honoured saying goes, "you can't beat a train."

"Sometimes it's just [a matter of] not paying attention, but often people underestimate how quickly the train will reach them," says Aikins of collisions like last night's.

"Young people sometimes think they can outrun a train. With more service coming, it's really important we continue to make people aware."

Lead photo by

Nicoli OZ Mathews

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