Two seniors are confirmed dead after they were hit by a southbound Canadian Pacific freight train in the central Alberta community of Wetaskiwin on Thursday. 

RCMP Insp. Scott Tod told the Canadian Press that the woman, who was in her 70s, was pushing a wheelchair and walking ahead of the man, who was in his 80s. 

The woman turned back to help the man when he slipped and fell on the tracks. They both died at the scene. 

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The 50th Ave crossing in Wetaskiwin. Canadian Pacific says two people were killed by a train at this crossing Thursday. (Scott Stevenson/CBC News)

CP spokesman Kevin Hrysak said that the collision occurred at the 50th Avenue and 50th Street crossing around 11:38 a.m. 

“Our crew did sound their whistle and horn and put the train into an emergency brake application but did unfortunately make contact with the individuals," he said.

The warning gates, lights and bells at the crossing appeared to be functioning at the time, Hrysak said. 

The first sign of trouble was when a train passing through downtown began blasting its horn, said Cliff Reed, who owns Reed's Cycle and Sports, one block from the crossing.

"I just went to have a look because I started hearing sirens and there was one person laying on the street at the time," he said. 

Trains have been barred from sounding their horns in the town by a recent bylaw, he said. 

With files from Canadian Press