Boy Scout, 15, 'Pretty Shook Up' After Trying to Save Truck Driver Who Died in Accident with Amtrak Train

Boy Scout, 15, 'Pretty Shook Up' After Trying to Save Truck Driver Who Died in Accident with Amtrak Train
·4 min read

A pair of Boy Scout troops from Wisconsin stepped up to help in the immediate aftermath of Monday's Amtrak crash in Missouri, which left three people dead.

Boy Scout Troops 73 and 12, of Appleton, Wisconsin, were returning home from a 10-day backpacking trip in New Mexico when the train they were riding collided with a dump truck in Mendon, Missouri, Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations with the Boy Scouts of America, tells PEOPLE.

Armstrong says 16 boys, ages 13 to 17 years old, and eight adults were among more than 200 passengers on the train when it derailed and flipped on its side.

After the accident, the boys jumped into action and used their scouting skills to help anyone and everyone they could, from utilizing their first aid skills to helping "extricate" people from overturned cars, Armstrong says.

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The boys "held their own and they did themselves proud" following Monday's crash, says Armstrong, who calls it "a good day for scouting" despite the tragedy.

"They did what they were supposed to do," he adds. "You had a bunch of teenagers that really rose to the occasion."

Boy Scouts on Derailed Amtrak Train Broke Windows, Helped People Out of Cars After Crash. Credit: Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts on Derailed Amtrak Train Broke Windows, Helped People Out of Cars After Crash. Credit: Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America Boy Scouts Troop 12 posing at Philmont Scout Ranch

Amtrak said 275 passengers and 12 crew members were on the eastbound train from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed. Missouri State Highway Patrol announced three people died in the crash, including the dump truck driver whose vehicle was struck.

Hundreds of other passengers escaped the wreckage, some with help from the Boy Scouts. At least one scout broke windows on the train to help people escape, according to ABC affiliate WBAY-TV and FOX News.

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One scout also reportedly came to the aid of the now-deceased dump truck driver. Armstrong tells PEOPLE that 15-year-old senior patrol leader Eli attempted first aid on the man, who was ejected from his vehicle upon the collision and found by the scout in a nearby ditch.

The boy remained by the driver's side until the man succumbed to his injuries, Armstrong says.

Dan Skrypczak, scoutmaster of Troop 73, told WBAY-TV that the scout who was with the dump truck driver "is pretty shook up."

Boy Scouts on Derailed Amtrak Train Broke Windows, Helped People Out of Cars After Crash. Credit: Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts on Derailed Amtrak Train Broke Windows, Helped People Out of Cars After Crash. Credit: Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America Boy Scout Troop 12 posing at Philmont Scout Ranch

The Wisconsin Boy Scouts were on their way home Monday after completing "nearly 100 miles of backpacking through the desert mountains of New Mexico" when the crash occurred, according to Armstrong.

"These guys probably had the trip of a lifetime so far," he tells PEOPLE, "and certainly weren't expecting what they got on their return trip home."

One scout required medical attention in Monday's crash but has since been released from the hospital, Armstrong tells PEOPLE. The other boys "were bussed an hour-and-a-half" before reaching a medical facility to be checked out, Armstrong says.

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Three of the adults sustained varying injuries in the crash and were transported to two hospitals for treatment, he adds. Though some of the injuries are serious, Armstong says they are not life-threatening.

"It's been obviously a pretty trying experience for an area that was not very populated," he explains. "The actual crash incident was in the middle of nowhere."

Skrypczak told WBAY-TV he is "proud" of the troops' efforts in the wake of the crash.

Nicole Tierney, whose son Owen was one of the scouts on the derailed Amtrak train, told WBAY she's "very proud" of the boys' heroics.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 22, 2022, the Amtrak logo is seen on a train at Union Station in Washington, DC. - Several cars of a long-distance train derailed on the afternoon of June 27, 2022, in the US state of Missouri, with early reports of injuries among the nearly 250 passengers, the rail company said. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 22, 2022, the Amtrak logo is seen on a train at Union Station in Washington, DC. - Several cars of a long-distance train derailed on the afternoon of June 27, 2022, in the US state of Missouri, with early reports of injuries among the nearly 250 passengers, the rail company said. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty The Amtrak logo on the side of a train

"[I'm] very proud of how some of our boys helped with some of the injured passengers and how they were willing to put themselves aside," Tierny told the outlet. "That's just what Boy Scouts do."

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"Despite the obvious trauma [and] despite the injuries and carnage they had to witness, they rose to the occasion and did what scouts do, which is help others before themselves," Armstrong tells PEOPLE.

"So, out of a tragedy comes a good story about America's youth and [I'm] just really proud of what these scouts were able to accomplish."

Boy Scouts of America is "monitoring" both the scouts and leaders involved in Monday's crash and will offer assistance, including "trauma counseling" to those in need, according to Armstrong.

An investigation into Monday's accident is ongoing, according to Amtrak's statement.