An Amtrak train derailment in December killed three and injured dozens more. According to our earlier reporting, train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington, around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.
BREAKING: Multiple fatalities and injuries are reported after an Amtrak train derailed in Washington state pic.twitter.com/FocQe2isuk
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 18, 2017
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews declared that the derailment occurred because Amtrak’s tracks “don’t travel in a straight line,” which you’d think would’ve been causing a few derailments per day had that been the case. In reality, the train was traveling around a turn at 106 miles-per-hour when the turn was designed to handle a train going only 50 miles-per-hour.
One widely under reported fact surrounding the disaster is that it would’ve been much worse had it not been for the actions of a newly commissioned U.S. Army lieutenant who was stationed nearby at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
As the Daily Caller reported,
Second Lt. Robert McCoy was driving his pickup down Interstate 5 when he saw train cars burst through the concrete barrier lining the highway overpass and tumble to the road below.
He says he hit the brakes on his truck to stop short of the falling train, which crushed several cars driving in front of him. After seeing the devastating crash up close, McCoy knew he had to do something to help.
“I remembered I had a tourniquet and a CPR mask in my truck and I grabbed those and I took off toward the accident,” McCoy told local TV station Q13 FOX. “There were individuals who had been ejected from the train onto the pavement. And so my first initial thought was, I don’t know how stable this is. If this train continues to fall, it’s gonna fall on these individuals.”
McCoy says he carried several ejected passengers out of the roadway and then started helping people trapped inside a semi-truck and the overturned Amtrak cars. Along with another good Samaritan, he climbed on top of the crushed semi, and then into a rail car teetering on the overpass, where he found about 20 to 30 passengers trapped inside.
“I heard people in there asking for help and stuff,” McCoy said. “There were people yelling, there was people looking for each other, looking for loved ones.”
Despite the frightening prospect of the mangled train cars collapsing, McCoy continued to help extract victims, including a family whose grandmother was partially dangling from the end of a car.
His heroic actions drew praise from other members of McCoy’s platoon:
You can watch his interview with Q13 below:
“I couldn’t afford to be scared, I couldn’t afford to be shocked. I had to do what I am called to do and focus and channel that and help these people around me get to safety as best as possible.”
Those are the words of a hero.
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