At around 4pm Sunday Police and Ambulance staff attended an incident at a rail bridge adjacent to Grimseys Reserve, in Christchurch (South of Belfast).
A 4-year-old child was struck by a train, moving at low speed, on the bridge - which crosses a small stream running through the reserve.
The Child had been with her siblings & a family friend - aged 11, 10 & 9 - when the incident occurred.
It has been determined that the group of children, who were unsupervised, were fishing off the rail bridge - despite security fencing & warning signs prohibiting access.
The train driver observed them on the tracks some distance ahead and repeatedly sounded warnings, while activating emergency braking systems. 3 of the children were able to get clear of the tracks - although a girl (aged 11) received injuries from her 6-7m leap to the ground below. Her 4-year-old sister remained on the tracks as the train approached, despite the efforts of another child to get her clear.
She was struck by the front right of the train's cattle shunt and was thrown from the tracks, also falling landing close to her injured sister. She received injuries, including to her head, and both girls were given 1st aid by nearby adults before Ambulance staff arrived and provided care.
The 4-year-old remains in a serious but stable condition in Christchurch Hospital. Both are expected to make a full recovery but are incredibly lucky to have survived in the circumstances.
The train driver's actions in braking clearly reduced the speed of the light locomotive, so that it came to rest only a matter of metres past where the children had been. That, and a significant amount of luck, were the primary reasons a tragedy appears to have been averted.