A hearing has been set to determine who can participate in the upcoming inquest into the death of Kevin Anderson, who died in 2018 after waiting hours for medical help following a train derailment in a remote area of northern Manitoba.
Anderson, 38, was conducting a freight train that went off the tracks after going over a bridge that had washed out near Ponton, about 545 kilometres north of Winnipeg, on Sept. 15, 2018.
Anderson and a 59-year-old engineer were pinned in the wreckage, seriously injured and with no means of communicating with the outside world, says the government release about the standing hearing.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., the wreckage was discovered by people in a helicopter that happened to fly overhead.
RCMP arrived around 7 p.m. but due to concerns about fuel leaking from the wreckage, a decision was made to bar access to the site until it could be assessed by trained and equipped personnel. Those people did not arrive at the site until midnight.
Anderson died shortly after, having never received any medical attention and still pinned in the wreckage, the government release says. His remains weren’t extricated from the wreckage until Sept. 18, three days later.
An autopsy report later determined that Anderson bled to death after suffering “serious but survivable injuries.”
A 59-year-old engineer survived but was seriously injured.
A Transportation Safety Board report released earlier this year blamed a summer of heavy precipitation and high water levels for the washout. The water created pressure against the raised bed of the track until it finally gave out.
The Hudson Bay Railway train operated by Anderson and his co-worker was moving at 40 km/h when it reached the washout, the TSB report said.
The rails and ties were in place but unsupported, hanging over an empty space 15 metres long and almost five metres deep. The train went onto the unsupported section, which collapsed under the weight.
An inquest was called by the chief medical examiner to determine the circumstances relating to Anderson’s death, specifically:
- To review the co-ordination of a multi-agency response to a serious incident in a remote setting.
- To examine policies and protocols used by police, paramedics and other first responders regarding operation in a potentially dangerous setting.
- To determine what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future.
A date for the inquest has yet to be set. That will come after the standing hearing, which will be held on Dec. 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the court office in The Pas.
A judge will use the standing hearing to decide who can participate in the inquest and question witnesses.
Individuals and groups who want to be granted standing can apply to be part of the December hearing. Contact Peter Edgett, inquest counsel, at 204-918-0479 or Peter.Edgett@gov.mb.ca by Dec. 1.
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