RIDGEFIELD, Wash. -- A Vancouver woman died after starting to cross a railroad bridge north of Ridgefield and getting struck by an Amtrak train.

Amanda Duarte was on the bridge during a fishing outing with her boyfriend, Chris Borelis, as the train approached. Borelis was able to get out of the way of the train but Duarte was not, according to Clark County Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy.

Duarte, 24, was struck by the train just before 8:30 p.m. and died at the scene.

Borelis talked to KGWThursday. He said they thought they'd have time to beat the train. He jumped and ended up in the Lewis River and waited for Duarte to swim over to him. But she never did.

I thought she was playing a joke on me so I yelled, babe! Where are you? I thought she was playing around. I looked back to the bridge, then when I looked to the left I saw her body down there in the ditch, he said, his voice cracking in emotion.

The southbound train engineer told investigators he had spotted the young woman on the bridge, blew the whistle and tried to make an emergency stop, but could not avoid the collision.

Amanda's grandfather, Ed Duarte, said she loved to fish and did it almost every evening.

She'd come home from work, shower here, go up to his house and they'd go fishing. That was her routine. At 5 in the morning, she'd come home, go to work, come back, he said.

Ed said his granddaughter was a wonderful person with such a strong future ahead of her.

The Amtrak passenger train had been en route to Portland and Eugene. Amtrak officials said all passengers were kept on the train during the investigation at the scene.


Photos courtesy of Ed Duarte. KGWReporter Katherine Cook contributed to this report.

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