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One of the first responders to Monday’s Amtrak derailment in Dupont, Washington, was a civilian who says he did a “simple thing” working his way through the mangled cars of that train. Daniel Konzelman, a 24-year-old Eagle Scout, was driving to work with his girlfriend when the train careened off an overpass south of Seattle. He says his emergency response training helped him assess victims and lead them out of the wreckage.


Daniel Konzelman  

CBS News

“We were both in like in our dress clothes for work, and had a little bit of emergency response gear like a flashlight and some boots. So we threw those on and ran down to the tracks as fast as we could.  And nobody was there, nobody was leading or responding to the incident,” Konzelman told CBS News.

The train, which spilled over on to the highway below it, left at least three dead.  

“I did my best to sort of take charge of the situation,” he said. “Because I was up on the tracks on the bridge, I was able to just do a simple thing and get people out of the train cars and down to the freeway.”   

“There was a gentleman, he was pinned from the waist down, but he was so calm and he didn’t look like he was injured,” Konzelman recalled. “In that moment when I felt super helpless I realized like, I just want to be with this guy….So I grabbed his hand and I just talked to him….I rubbed his back, I just tried to make him as comfortable as he could be.”

At a late-night news conference Monday, a National Transportation Safety Board member that information from the event data recorder in the rear locomotive showed the train was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed.

“The whole time, I was praying asking the Lord for courage and wisdom and protection as that train was sort of suspended above us and could have shifted and crushed any of us,” he said. “What would I want somebody to do for me if I was in that position? Or if one of my brothers was in that position?”

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