published : 2023-09-29

Brightline Suffers Tragic Fatality on Orlando Extension

Officials Suspect Suicide as Cause

A bright and modern Brightline train speeding through the picturesque Florida landscape, taken with a Nikon D850.

Florida's high-speed passenger train service, Brightline, tragically experienced its first fatality on the new Orlando extension.

On Thursday, a pedestrian was struck by a northbound Brightline train near Fort Pierce.

Officials suspect the incident may have been a suicide, as the 25-year-old man appeared to have intentionally stepped in front of the train.

The incident marks the 99th death involving Brightline trains since the company's inception six years ago.

Brightline trains are known to travel up to 125 mph through central Florida's farmland, though it is unclear how fast this particular train was traveling at the time.

A close-up shot of the railroad crossing where the tragic incident occurred, captured with a Canon EOS R.

Law enforcement authorities, including St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, confirmed the victim was homeless.

Brightline officials have not yet released a statement regarding the incident.

This unfortunate event comes shortly after another incident where a high-speed train collided with a car on a railroad crossing north of Miami, resulting in two fatalities.

Since the start of its Miami-West Palm operations, Brightline has unfortunately had the highest death rate among major railroads in the U.S.

Data analysis by the Associated Press shows that Brightline's trains have reported one death per 32,000 miles traveled, whereas the next-worst railroad has a fatality rate of one death per 130,000 miles.

Sheriff Ken Mascara addressing the media at the news conference, taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III.

It's important to note that the previous deaths associated with Brightline have been attributed to various factors such as suicides, drivers ignoring crossing gates, and pedestrians recklessly running across tracks.

Brightline has taken measures to improve safety, including the installation of closed-circuit cameras near tracks, better crossing gates and pedestrian barriers, and the promotion of a suicide prevention hotline through signage.

As Brightline opens its extension connecting Miami and Orlando, this tragic incident raises concerns about the ongoing safety of the service.

Readers beware, the allure of high-speed travel may come at a cost!

Stay tuned for more updates on this story.