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Photographer in Missouri Hit and Killed by Amtrak Train During Photo Shoot

amtrak

A photographer lost his life last Saturday during a photo shoot on the Union Pacific U.S. Highway 50 overpass in Sedalia, MO when an Amtrak train came around a blind corner and couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting him.

According to the Sedalia Democrat, Jonathan D. Eade was trespassing on a narrow railroad bridge around midday on Saturday, conducting a photoshoot on the tracks, when police say an Amtrak train came around a “blind curve” in the tracks and hit him. The combination of noise from the traffic below and the fact that the bridge is too narrow for pedestrians meant that Eade didn’t hear the train coming or have a chance to move out of the way.

The engineer in the case has been absolved of any wrongdoing, with Amtrak saying that he “did everything he could… sounded all the warnings devices… [and] put the train into full emergency,” but there was just not enough room. Amtrak officials told the Democrat that it can take as much as a full mile to stop an eight-car passenger train traveling at 79 mph.

overpassYou can read the full story on the Sedalia Democrat website, but this tragedy serves as yet another reminder of why photographers should stay far away from train tracks.

In this case, four total no trespassing signs were ignored on a bridge that is only really wide enough for a train to pass through… a bridge that follows a blind curve in the track. Even if Eade had seen the train in time, he might not have been able to avoid it.

If you want to photograph trains, Amtrak does have its photo and videography policies posted online, but the basic wisdom is covered in this quote from Amtrak Media Relations Manager Marc Magliari: “always photograph from public areas and never trespass on railroad property.”

(via SLR Lounge)


Image credits: Amtrak by Braniff747SP


 
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  • Michael Hill

    You are next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

    Darwin doesn’t apply to train accidents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

    If not for the fact that he was hit by a train, he would be a cinch for the Darwin Award.

  • Michael Hill

    Yes it does when you are standing on a bridge in which you have no way to keep from getting killed.

  • flightofbooks

    You do know what “absolved” means, right?

  • flightofbooks

    In the incident in that story you linked, the film crew believed they had permission to shoot on the tracks. They had requested and received written permission from the Norfolk Southern to be on the property, and presumably inferred this meant anywhere on the property in question.

  • flightofbooks

    Plenty of paid professional photographers pull this same stupid stunt. Don’t pretend like it doesn’t happen. Just try googling wedding photos railroad or train tracks and look at how many professionally shot photos come up if you don’t believe it.

  • flightofbooks

    And no true Scotsman etc etc

  • flightofbooks

    This isn’t an isolated incident. Wedding and portrait photographers have been doing this for years. It’s an easy cliche that I people pay money for. The only difference between this hump and all the others is his luck ran out.

  • http://www.timgander.co.uk Tim Gander

    I’m sure it happens a lot. I’m not sure how much it happens in the UK because our tracks aren’t generally as pretty or “open” with sweeping vistas, and trains on any line tend to be very frequent. British Transport Police probably have a better chance of catching trespassers, but where people do tend to get killed on our lines is either stupidity by drivers trying to jump the lights at level crossings or people taking their lives on purpose. As we say here, “nowt so queer as folk.”

  • http://www.timgander.co.uk Tim Gander

    Then they are indeed idiots. I should qualify my views by saying I don’t shoot weddings and the only time I take photos in risky places is when I’m commissioned to for the corporate client, who will have to have organised permissions and someone to accompany us where required. I’d certainly never trespass for a photo, I enjoy my life too much to do that. Much of this comes down to there not being the training routes professionals used to have to take. Now people think the training is all in the camera manual and Programme Mode.

  • http://www.tylertrahan.com/ Tyler

    Was that ever proven, though? My understanding was that they *said* they had permission, or talked to someone who wasn’t authorized to give permission, or even to somebody at the industrial site adjacent to the line. And all that was from secondhand news reporting from a sheriff’s statement.

    I find it very hard to believe that any railroad would allow anybody onto their property without either an escort or extremely clear guidelines about where they were allowed and where they weren’t. And a film crew? They’d definitely get an escort. I’m a photographer and I don’t trust other photographers around the railroad.

  • flightofbooks

    I believe CSX confirmed they had permission to be on the property, but not on the tracks. Whether that distinction was clear to the film crew is something that will no doubt be the subject of future legal inquire.

    And while in general it’s hard to believe a railroad would allow a film crew to shoot on their property without a company chaperone, if there ever was a railroad that would flake out on doing so it’s CSX. On the other hand, it’s very hard to imagine a professional Hollywood film crew doing a shoot on private property without clearing it with someone. There’s too many legal issues not having clearance could create for the production, not withstanding safety.

    I’d be willing to put money on it: someone in CSX management screwed up by giving the film crew permission to shoot but not following through and assigning them an escort.

  • http://www.tylertrahan.com/ Tyler

    I’ll defer to your knowledge — I haven’t followed the incident since it first broke. I have yet to work with CSX but I suppose mistakes do happen everywhere.