Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Two dozen passengers on the Amtrak Train that derailed in Missouri Monday are from the Appleton area. Sixteen Boy Scouts and eight adult leaders were on their way home from a 10-day backpacking trip in New Mexico when their train collided with a dump truck.
Isaac Berken and Owen Tierney were sitting next to each other, in the last train car when Berken says he felt a jolt.
“Right after I woke up the car started shaking, kind of, and it felt like we were switching tracks and then it started to shake a little bit more and it leaned to the side and that’s when I knew it shouldn’t be leaning that much. And then that’s when everything kind of started to fall over.”
After the initial shock, the scouts, along with the other passengers, checked on each other.
“I consoled people, I comforted people, I did a little bit of first aid.”
And then they worked on getting themselves out of the overturned train car.
“Within a minute we had scouts trying to find the emergency window. They pushed it open and then one by one we started having people crawl out of there. And then, by the time I got to the top, technically the side, but right on top of the train, I saw all the train cars that were gone and that’s when I realized like holy cow that’s actually what happened.”
Isaac Berken says he and the others walked along what was now the top of the overturned train, checking on other passengers and helping where they could.
“I was walking on the side of the car and there was a door that was open on the side. I was able to get in there and I helped some people get out of there and walk them down to the end of the train where they could get off and get down to the intersection.”
Some of the scouts met up with the train’s engineer who gave them water to hand out. It wasn’t until they were at triage center, away from the crash site, that reality sunk in.
“Once I got there, I started breaking down, because I realized there was nothing I could do. Nothing I could do to help, but I got over it. I was okay.”
Now relying on one another for support as they realize what they’ve been through.
“We’ve become brothers.”