Father and son killed in fatal collision with train
A collision between a train and a car in Harlingen on Monday took the lives of a 31-year-old father and his 3-year-old son, the police announced on Monday night. The car was hit by an Arriva train at a private crossing on a farm where the boy's school was on a field trip. The car was dragged about 250 meters, NOS reports.
There was no one else in the car. The father and son were the first to leave the farm after the field trip, according to De Limburger. Many other students of the Prins Johan Friso School and their parents saw the accident happen.
"The necessary attention was paid to help for those present, the students and teachers. Victim aid was arranged for them", Mayor Roel Sluiter said in a press conference on Monday. He called the accident a "huge blow".
Exactly how the accident happened is still unclear. The crossing is unguarded - it only has lights that flash red when a train is approaching. It seems that the lights were in working order. The Dutch Safety Board is investigating.
The crossing where the fatal accident happened is on a ProRail list as a crossing to be removed. On Monday ProRail stated that the company is having constructive talks with the landowner about it. There was another accident at the crossing early last month, also a collision between a car and a train. There were no serious injuries.
There are about 325 private crossings in the Netherlands. This one is used mostly only by the farmer whose farm is located behind the track. Speaking to NOS on Monday, ProRail CEO Pier Eringa said that he would prefer to completely stop using private crossings. Money was made available to guard the 100 or so public crossings that are unguarded, but there is no solution for the private crossings.