AN offshore worker has revealed how his Highlands railway trip to horror – when the train hit his father and brother.
Gerhard Kolarczyk, 87, and his 52-year-old son, Paul, were visiting Scotland from Germany when they were struck by a train as they walked along the West Highland railway line on Tuesday evening.
Paul is critically ill in hospital following the accident, near Rannoch Station, and his father suffered cuts and bruises after leaping out of the way.
It has now emerged that Gary Kolarczyk, Paul’s brother, was a passenger on the same train.
Gary and his wife, Alison, 53, who live in Dundee, had arranged to pick up Gerhard and Paul at Rannoch Station after the duo’s fishing trip.
The offshore worker, who moved to Scotland to Germany to work, said he had a “funny feeling” the moment their train lurched to a halt a few miles south of the station.
He said: “We felt the train brake suddenly and we heard the horn going, then it just came to a stop.
“A couple of minutes later a message came over the Tannoy saying we had hit some sheep.
“We just looked at each other and knew there was something else.
“We hadn’t seen any sheep for miles and miles and it is such a remote place.”
The couple, who had been sitting in the last carriage of the train, asked the driver what had happened, after a call was made for medical help.
“We saw someone put on surgical gloves and we knew then that it wasn’t sheep.
“They wouldn’t let anyone off the train. I was just numb.”
Gary was eventually allowed to leave the train and his worst fear was confirmed when he realised it had hit his father and brother.
Gary got his dad on board the train. He had suffered cuts and bruises, had bumped his head and was in a state of shock.
The 87-year-old had dropped down into a 5ft-deep drain at the side of the track after son Paul had shouted from behind that a train was coming.
“He was just dazed. I don’t think he realised just how serious it all was,” said Gary, who travelled with his father by air ambulance to Fort William’s Belford Hospital, where he was checked over and allowed to go home that night.
A helicopter was scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to help Paul, who had suffered serious leg injuries.
Gary said he would not know exactly what had happened to Paul until he woke up, but he thought the train had snagged his rucksack and had flung him from the line.
Paul is in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital in a serious condition and is sedated.
Gary said his condition is now improving but that he might lose his right leg.
Paul and Gerhard live in Germany and were in Scotland for holiday. Gary said the accident had left everyone stunned.
“It’s just so ironic that we were on the train that hit them
“We’re looking at the bright side, though. They could have been killed. It could have been so much worse.”