A van almost crashed into the Tiruchi-Rameswaram Passenger train at the Uchapuli railway gate on Tuesday when it came to a halt, a few feet away from the track after fatally knocking down a motorist and throwing two two-wheelers on to the train.

The gate remained closed for the passenger train proceeding towards Rameswaram. A youth, his friend and another person were waiting in their two-wheelers on the right side of the level crossing when the van, coming from Rameswaram, hit the two-wheelers from behind and came to a halt after crashing the lifting barrier and a concrete base.

The impact was so huge that the two-wheeler occupants were thrown out of the vehicles and the vehicles flew and hit the last compartment of the train before falling on the track, the police said.

The police said Mohamed Rafique (30) and Sahul Hameed (45) from Mandapam in a two-wheeler and Karmegam (40) from Irumeni in another two-wheeler were waiting, among others, at the level crossing when the accident took place.

Rafique died on the spot while his friend Hameed has been referred to Madurai Government Hospital for treatment. Karmegam and Indrajit (45), the van driver, were admitted to the Government Hospital here. They were all proceeding towards Ramanathapuram, the police added.

Road traffic on the highway remained closed for about four hours.