UPPER MILFORD TWP., Pa. - Two men have died after they were struck by a freight train in Upper Milford Township.
Emergency crews were called onto the tracks at the crossing at 7th and Chestnut streets in Emmaus at 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Lehigh County Communications Center.
The accident happened further down the tracks in the 1500 block of Chestnut Street in Upper Milford Township.
Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim says that both men were between the ages of 20 and 25.
They have not yet been identified. Autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday.
Although officials have not yet released the names of those killed in the crash, the owners of nearby Hursh Landscaping tell 69 News the victims were their employees.
Shawn Marie Hursh, a co-owner of Hursh Landscaping, said the two men worked for their lawn care division. She called the incident "non-work related" as the two men had finished work and were walking to the Weis on Chestnut Street.
"With great sadness we found out today that we lost two valuable employees. We are very sorry for their families' losses and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time," Hursh said.
"They rely on public transportation and were going to the bus stop. And that's just where we have a very dangerous bridge outside of our facility. Walking to the bus stop, is somewhat dangerous. So they took the railroad tracks," Hursh continued.
Hursh said starting Tuesday, employees will not be allowed to walk along the tracks to get to the bus stop.
The company said it is also closing down Tuesday in honor of those employees killed.
Hursh said it will be working with the families of the victims, and helping them in any way that they need.
She described them as "valuable up-and-coming" employees. They joined the company this spring.
Hursh said their workforce of about 55 people is very close.
Grim said it is believed the two men were attempting to cross the tracks in a wooded area behind Schultz Construction.
"It is known for people to cross but it's not a crossing zone area. It's in the middle of a wooded area. They were crossing the tracks at this point."
Norfolk Southern tells 69 News the eastbound train hit the two men on the line of the tracks, not near a train crossing.
There were two Norfolk Southern crew members on the train. Neither was hurt.
The train weighs 4,837 tons and was made up of three locomotives, 38 full cars and five empty cars.
69 News spoke with a 19-year-old who crossed those tracks hours after the crash.
Nicholas Krause said people cross those tracks frequently, but said he will think twice before crossing there again.
"Definitely have to be more careful. I know, I guess I shouldn't do it anymore. Cause it is pretty dangerous," said Nicholas Krause.
The Lehigh County coroner's office, Pennsylvania State Police, and detectives from Norfolk Southern are investigating.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Berks 69 News