Boy Scouts help rescue passengers in Missouri Amtrak derailment
Scouts from troops 12 and 73 in Appleton, Wisconsin, offered first aid, help getting out and comfort until rescue crews arrived
Two Boy Scout troops well-trained in first aid were in the right place to use those skills Monday afternoon when an Amtrak train they were traveling on derailed in rural Missouri after hitting a dump truck at an uncontrolled crossing.
The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when the train crashed near Mendon, Missouri, according to WBAY.com.
The 16 Scouts from Appleton, Wisconsin, who were accompanied by eight adults, are credited with playing a major role in getting passengers off the derailed train and providing first aid before rescue crews arrived. One of the youths, a 15-year-old, found the driver of the dump truck in a ditch and tried to stabilize him. That driver and two train passengers died at the scene.
Dan Skrypczak, who is the Appleton Troop 73 scoutmaster but was not on the trip, said in a Monday night interview with the New York Post that the teen who stayed with the dump truck driver was his son, Eli.
“He’s OK. He’s shook now that the adrenaline has worn off,” Skrypczak said. “When we finally did talk to him, he was pretty upset; he wishes he could have done more.”
Scott Armstrong, a national Boy Scouts of American spokesman, said the Scouts, ages 13-17, were members of troops 12 and 73, which are run out of the First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. They were returning home from a demanding weeklong backpacking trip in New Mexico.
“These Scouts are highly trained. They would have received advanced first aid training prior to going, including their adult leaders would have had people with wilderness first aid certification, which is a pretty advanced course,” Armstrong said. “Luckily they had that training because I’m sure they put it to use today.”
The Amtrak Southwest Chief train carried 243 passengers and 12 crew members. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, it hit the dump truck just before 1 p.m. Seven of the eight train cars derailed and at least 40 passengers were taken to the hospital. That included one of the Scouts and two of the adults traveling with the troops, who were all treated for minor injuries.
“It was the second Amtrak collision in as many days,” The Associated Press reported. “Three people in a car were killed Sunday afternoon when an Amtrak commuter train smashed into it in Northern California.”
Passengers who were not injured in the Missouri derailment were taken to a nearby high school where local residents fed them and put them up for the night.