A man in his early 20s was killed yesterday after being hit by a train when he apparently lost control of his motorbike – while performing a wheelie to impress his friends.
The victim, who has not been named, was riding an off-road motorbike at Brandon Wood, near Coventry, when he lost control and careered into the path of a train at 12.15pm.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and passengers of the train, which had been travelling from Birmingham to London, were treated for shock at the scene.
Police and accident investigators sealed off the area last night as they probed the cause of the tragedy.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Crews had to walk around half a mile back down the line to where the collision had happened.
“Staff found a damaged motocross bike. Unfortunately, it was immediately clear that there was nothing that could be done to help the man who had been riding it and he was confirmed dead at the scene.
“Another man who had come off a second bike was uninjured. There were two other riders at the scene who had not been involved in the incident.
“The driver of the train was checked over by ambulance staff but was uninjured.”
Emergency crews said a group of youths had been riding motocross bikes on land near the railway line, which runs between Coventry and Rugby.
A British Transport Police spokesman confirmed the victim was thought to have been riding an off-road motorcycle when he was struck.
He said: “The incident, which was reported to BTP at 12.17pm by the driver of the 11.33am Birmingham New Street to London Euston service, is currently being treated as non-suspicious.
“Officers are currently working to confirm the man’s identity and establish the full circumstances, including how he came to be on, or in close proximity to, the railway line.
“A file will be prepared for the coroner.”
People living near the area yesterday said they believed the victim had been performing a wheelie stunt shortly before he was hit.
A dog walker, who witnessed the aftermath of the tragedy, said: “I overheard a few members of the emergency services saying he had been seen pulling a wheelie on his bike.
“It’s a tragedy when someone dies in such tragic and such preventable circumstances.”
Many rail services were cancelled or delayed as a result of the incident and buses had to be put on by London Midland to transport stranded passengers.