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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Sat nav driver's car hit by train
Paula Ceely
I could feel the air just pass me and then my car just did a 360 degree turn on the tracks
Paula Ceely
A 20-year-old student's car was wrecked by a train after she followed her sat nav system onto a railway track.

Paula Ceely, was driving her Renault Clio from Redditch, Worcestershire, to see her boyfriend at his parents' home in Carmarthenshire for the first time.

She was trying to cross the line in the dark when she heard a train horn, realised she was on the track, and the train smashed into the car.

Transport police said drivers must take care with satellite navigation.

The car was carried about half a mile (800m) down the line by the Pembroke Dock to Swansea train, although Ms Ceely escaped injury in the incident near Whitland.

A second-year student at Birmingham University, she had borrowed the sat nav from her boyfriend, Tom Finucane, 21.

"I put my complete trust in the sat nav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train," she said.

"The crossing wasn't shown on the sat nav, there were no signs at all and it wasn't lit up to warn of an oncoming train.

"Obviously I had never done the journey before so I was using the sat nav - completely dependent on it," she said.

"I came to this crossing at Ffynongain and there was like a metal gate, which looked like just a normal farmers' gate with a red circle on it

"I thought it was a dead end at first and then there was a little sign saying, if the light is green, open the gates and drive through.

Paula Ceely's car
The car was hit up the railway line in the collision

"So I opened the gate, drove forward, closed the gate behind me and then went to go and open the gate in front of me.

"Then I heard this train and I noticed train tracks. It was only then that I did realise I was on a train crossing.

"I just stood back and I just watched this train come in front of me.

"I could feel the air just pass me and then my car just did a 360 degree turn on the tracks and was knocked to the other side."

She said her initial thought when she heard the horn had been to get into her car and move it.

"It was so quick that if I had done that, I would have been in the car when it was hit," she said.

'Really lucky'

Ms Ceely said she had been "really lucky".

"I can't completely blame the sat nav because up until there, it did get me where I needed to go," she added.

We would advise people to use sat navs with due caution
Chief Inspector Paul Richards, British Transport Police

"If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn't have had the accident.

"But I would be a bit more wary of the sat nav next time because they try to take you the shortest route, and not always the most accessible route and not always the safest route."

She has returned to Wales since, but took the train rather than drive.

"I'll never use a sat nav again. You rely on them and if it all goes wrong, you're horribly stuck.

"People should be more careful with them - you never know where they might lead you."

Chief Inspector Paul Richards of British Transport Police said they were investigating the incident.

"We would advise people to use sat navs with due caution," he added.

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