July 2, 2005
Two 19-year-old babysitters of pre-teen boys were injured after jumping off a train trestle to avoid being hit by Thomas the Tank Engine on Thursday.
Their two young charges managed to escape injury; one by leaping 15 feet into the Hood River, the other by crouching down on a support beam on the side of the tracks.
According to reports, the incident took place just south of the city as the train was returning to the Mt. Hood Railroad Station shortly before 12:30 p.m. Several passenger cars were carrying children and their parents and grandparents on a trip to celebrate the 60-year anniversary of Thomas and Friends stories. The train screeched to a halt immediately after the two women landed in the shoals, and emergency responders were called to the scene.
One eyewitness said the women were forced off the tracks after one was struck by a passenger boarding step. Hood River County Sheriff Deputy Pete Hughes could not confirm that account, since another witness said the women jumped on their own to avoid being struck by the train.
“We think they got surprised by the approach of the train and there was nowhere to go so they decided to get off the bridge,” he said.
Although neither of the boys were hurt in the incident, one of their baby sitters injured an ankle and the other complained of neck and back injuries. Both women had sustained scrapes and scratches and were treated at the scene by medics from the Pine Grove and Hood River fire departments.
They were then transported by ambulance to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital for a thorough examination. The two boys were given a ride to the medical center on a fire engine since their parents were unable to be reached.
“We see people out there all of the time but it’s obviously not a good place to play,” Hughes said.