A Saskatoon man died Sunday morning while trying to climb over a slow-moving train.

The 32-year-old, identified by relatives as Russell Bluecloud, was trying to get across a set of railway tracks and grew impatient while waiting for a train to pass, police said.

He was with two other men who successfully climbed over the train.

A witness and relative of the deceased told CBC News that the family was stunned by what happened.

Jeffery Machiskinic said he was with his nephew as they were crossing the tracks to visit relatives who lived in an adjacent neighbourhood.

"He jumped and grabbed a hold," Machiskinic said, describing the last moments he saw his nephew. "I figured he'd be fine because the train was going by really slow.

"I got on the other freight, crawled over and jumped over," Machiskinic continued. "But when I got to the other side of the train, he wasn't there on the other side."

Machiskinic said it had been a long time since they jumped on moving trains but they used to do it all the time as children.

"I thought he was just going further down and was then going to jump off or something. I didn't think nothing was going down."

Machiskinic added he won't be jumping trains anymore.

Safety expert says crew can do little in such cases

The accident occurred at about 10:45 a.m. on Sunday.

On Monday, safety experts expressed concerned about what happened.

Dan Di Tota, national director of Operation Lifesaver, a program to educate people about railway crossing safety, said it can be very difficult for locomotive crews to avoid an accident when people are clambering about the cars.

"They go over the scene and try to think if there was something they could have done to try and prevent the situation," Di Tota said. "They realize this was a needless incident and that death and serious injuries do not need to occur."

Trying to beat a train is not worth the risk, he said.

There are no special devices to alert crews that someone has climbed onto or fallen between cars, Di Tota said.