When Amtrak crash left civilians stranded, one US soldier in a pickup truck knew just what to do

Survivors of a horrifying train crash were fortunate a prepared U.S. soldier was nearby.

Second Lt. Robert McCoy said he didn’t have time to be scared after he narrowly avoided a horrifying accident that sent an Amtrak train plunging off the side of an overpass onto traffic below.

McCoy, a soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord described how he rushed to save passengers in and around the wreckage to Q 13 Fox.

“The train is going south and I’m just kind of driving, just driving, and I hear a loud noise and I look up and I see the train and it hits the concrete walls on the side and when it hits the walls — the walls kind of exploded — and the train just falls off. I see the train fall and it kind of falls on itself … and it hits three vehicles that were in front of me.”

The train was reportedly speeding when it tragically derailed, killing at least three people and injuring more than a 100 in Washington State on Monday.

“I saw many people that were just paralyzed with fear and I don’t blame them at all. I mean, it was kind of a hard situation to watch unfold,” McCoy said.

McCoy had to slam the brakes of his pickup truck to avoid being in the crash, and was not only prepared mentally, but was carrying medical equipment in case of an emergency.

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Second Lt. Robert McCoy. Video screen grab.

“I remembered I had a tourniquet and a CPR mask in my truck and I grabbed those and I took off toward the accident. 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 said he first took the stunned and ejected passengers to safety, before heading into the dangling train car where he found it loaded with passengers.

Aftermath of the train wreck. Video screen grab.

“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.”

Video screen grab.

Another person helped McCoy rescue the 20-30 passengers he said were trapped inside, including a grandmother who was dangling outside the car.

McCoy describes how a grandmother was dangling from the train wreckage. Video screen grab.

“She was kind at the end here, dangling out, but another downed rail car was right here. Her daughter kind of pulled her out backwards and I just reached under her and picked her up and put her down on some form of safe structure.”

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“I couldn’t afford to be scared, I couldn’t afford to be shocked,” McCoy told Fox 13. “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.”


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