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2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

– A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge by a freight train that surprised them as they walked along the tracks.

Eric Powell with Indiana Railroad said the train engine’s video camera captured the incident earlier this month on a bridge northeast of Bloomington at Lake Lemon.

He said the engineer of the 100-car coal train activated its emergency braking just after sunrise when he saw the women about 50 miles south of Indianapolis. But he said those women had few choices because jumping from the tracks would have meant serious injuries, perhaps even death.

“They’re frankly running for their lives at this point in time,” said Powell told WTHR-TV while reviewing the video footage.

The video shows the women running from the approaching train before one of them falls and the other woman races to help her.

“The engineer threw the train into emergency braking as soon as possible. He had thought he had killed the two people here on this bridge,” Powell said. “... Both duck at the last minute. How they survived that is nothing short of a miracle.”

Indiana Railroad said the women have been identified and will be prosecuted for criminal trespass.

But Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal said the county sheriff’s department is still investigating the incident after Indiana Railroad officials turned over evidence to police investigators.

Once his office receives a report from police, Gaal said his staff will review it for potential criminal charges but until then it’s inappropriate for prosecutors to comment on the case.

Powell said people sometimes follow a trail up to the railroad bridge the women were on and trespass onto that bridge. He said there are no walkways on the bridge because no one is supposed to be walking there.

“It’s dangerous, but it’s easy for people to get on the tracks and walk on there,” he said.

Click here to see their dramatic escape. Video courtesy of WTHR-TV.