Man, girl killed in train accident in Chilhowie; boy, 7, survive - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Man, girl killed in train accident in Chilhowie; boy, 7, survives as it passes over

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A man and a girl were killed when they were struck by a train while fishing from a bridge in southwestern Virginia. A boy who was with the group survived.

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office says 52-year-old Louis Perry of Chilhowie and a six-year-old girl, from Abingdon were killed by the passing train.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said the train was traveling west near Chilhowie around 2 p.m. Sunday. He says when the crew saw the three people on the railroad bridge, they put on the train’s emergency brakes and sounded the horn to alert the people.

As the train approached, the boy, 7, fell between the rails. Perry and the little girl stood off to the side, but there was not enough clearance. Both were killed by the passing train.

The boy dropped between the rails, which were about 25 to 30 feet high. He was initially reported missing, the boy was eventually found by a team of searchers with the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff says the search team found a pair of blue jeans near a fence about 400 feet from the incident and followed a trail through a tunnel under Interstate 81 where they found the boy in the field.

The boy was taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital for observation, but he did not have any signs of injuries.

The boy told investigators he survived by laying down and hanging on the railroad ties on the edge of the trestle while the train passed over.

The sheriff’s office says if it wasn’t for the team of searchers and their persistence during a heavy storm, “the outcome for the child may have been different.”

Officials say the bridge is about 200 feet long. The accident remains under investigation by the Smyth County Sheriff's Office, the Chilhowie Police Department and Norfolk and Southern Railroad.

Smyth County Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Chilhowie Fire Department, Chilhowie Police Department and Black Diamond Search and Rescue assisted in the search for the child.


Two people are dead and one missing after a train crash in Chilhowie, Virginia.

According to Robin Chapman, Spokesperson for Norfolk Southern Railroad, the crash happened at about 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Chapman said a train was heading westbound near Chilhowie when the crew saw three people on a railroad bridge. Chapman said it was a man and two children, and they were probably fishing off the bridge.

He said the train crew applied the brakes and sounded the horn to alert the three people. According to the crew, one of the children, a boy, fell between the rails as the train was approaching. They said the man and other child, a girl, stood off to the side, but there wasn't enough clearance and both were hit by the passing train.

Chapman said the man and girl were killed in the crash and the boy is missing. Crews are searching for the missing boy.

News Channel 11 has a reporter on scene and will update this story as more information becomes available.

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