THE FAMILY of an elderly couple from Lincolnshire who died after being struck by a freight train at a level crossing have spoken of their “deep sadness” at their loss.
Peter Smith, 80, and Betty Evelyn Smith, 79, were killed at a crossing just outside Lincoln city centre on Wednesday.
In a statement released through British Transport Police (BTP), the family said: “We are deeply saddened by our loss and we would now like to ask for privacy while we come to terms with what has happened.”
BTP said its officers were working to establish the full circumstances of the incident, which is being treated as non-suspicious.
It was reported that the are pair are thought to have deliberately stepped on to the line.
The train was heading for Immingham Docks on Humberside.
British Transport Police (BTP) said the incident was reported at 11.57am and Lincolnshire Police and East Midlands Ambulance staff also attended.
A BTP spokesman said: “Both people have been pronounced dead at the scene. Officers are now working to establish the full circumstances of the incident, which is currently being treated as non-suspicious.
“The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.”
Recent official safety figures revealed that the number of deaths from trespass and suicide on the railways rose from 278 to 300 in 2013/14 – the highest annual figure recorded.
It is thought that this number would have been even higher but for the partnership, recently renewed for another five years, between Network Rail and Samaritans.
Patricia Medd, 55, who lives in the village where the incident took place, said: “It’s the poor train driver I feel sorry for.
“I just heard the train screeching on its brakes then it stopped at the crossing. After that I just saw police and ambulance crews. They got the scene cleared up very quickly.”
A 54-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s a terrible thing to have happened.”