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Santa Barbara Coroner Releases Name of Train Victim

Mingyue Yuan, a UC Santa Barbara visiting scholar from China, was killed Oct. 11 in accident along the Gaviota Coast

The woman hit and killed by an Amtrak train on Oct. 11 has been identified as 26-year-old visiting scholar Mingyue Yuan from China, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff-Coroner's Office said Wednesday. 

Yuan, who was a visiting scholar at UC Santa Barbara, was fatally injured just before 6 p.m. at the Union Pacific Railroad trestle at Vista Point. 

She was working in the lab of Carla D’Antonio and Tom Dudley for about two weeks, UCSB public affairs director George Foulsham said in a statement.

D'Antonio is a professor in the Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology department and the Schuyler professor of environmental studies. Dudley is an associate research biologist with the Marine Science Institute, Foulsham said. 

"Mingyue Yuan had in her short time here made a very strong contribution to the spirit and energy of our lab," D'Antonio and Dudley wrote in a statement. 

"She was very excited to be getting started on a research project and to build new friendships and collaborations in the United States. She was a vibrant person who had an amazing effect on those who met her as she was so positive and joyful. We are devastated by this tragic loss.”

Emergency responders were called to the trestle on a report that pedestrians had been hit by a passenger train on the Gaviota Coast. 

Santa Barbara County Fire said a group of four people had been taking photographs of the sunset when the train approached. 

Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said the group of two women and two men tried to get off the trestle, which bridges a deep coastal canyon, but were unable to do so, and were struck by the passenger train.

Yuan was knocked from the trestle and died at the scene. Two others were injured and taken to a local hospital.

UCSB previously said three of the four people were visiting scholars working with professors, but has not identified them. 

The Chinese Consulate and UCSB assisted the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office in making a next of kin notification in China, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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