Girl hit by train dies after chopper lands on way to hospital

A CareFlite helicopter had to make a "precautionary landing" on the way to the hospital; she later died of her injuries

By Bill Miller
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas — A teenage girl who was hit by a train in a semi-rural area of southwest Fort Worth died late Wednesday after police, firefighters and crews of both ground and helicopter ambulances tried to get her to a hospital.

The girl, 15, was from Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office, which had not ruled on the manner of her death by late Thursday.

A CareFlite helicopter ambulance picked up the girl after landing on a bridge in the Chisholm Trail Parkway construction zone. The helicopter did not make it to a hospital, but had to make a “precautionary landing” at Meacham Airport in north Fort worth when a “status warning light” flashed on the flight deck, a CareFlite official said Thursday.

From Meacham, a MedStar ground ambulance took the girl from to John Peter Smith Hospital, said Brett Lyle, a MedStar spokeswoman.

She was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. at JPS, according to the medical examiner.

MedStar dispatchers were alerted shortly after 9 p.m. that someone had been hit by a train near the intersection of Old Granbury Road and Columbus Trail, Lyle said. The girl lived a little more than two miles from where she was struck.

Fort Worth police Capt. Scott Conn said the train, operated by the Fort Worth & Western Railroad, struck the girl as she sat on the tracks.

Two ambulances arrived, but their crews had difficulty finding the teen in the dark, Lyle said. The area, east of Benbrook Lake, is semi-rural and very dark at night.

Once the ambulance crews found the girl, they determined she was in critical condition and requested an air ambulance, Lyle said.

Firefighters and police also arrived and created a landing zone on a bridge that is part of construction for the new Chisholm Trail Parkway. They lighted the zone with flares.

The CareFlite helicopter was able to land on the bridge and take off with the patient, but soon had to land at Meacham.

“The landing was precautionary based on an status warning light on the flight deck,” said James Swartz, CareFlite president and CEO. “It was not an emergency landing, which means we land immediately rather than continuing to a helipad or airport.”

A MedStar ambulance picked up the girl about 10:45 p.m. and continued the trip to JPS, Lyle said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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