A Boy Scout is being hailed a hero after he comforted a man in his dying moments.
Eli Skrypczak and 15 other Scouts were passengers on an Amtrak train that collided with a dump truck in rural Missouri on Monday.
According to Dan Skrypczak, his 15-year-old son Eli, who was one of the first to escape the wreckage, located the truck driver lying in a ditch and struggling to breathe.
“Eli held his hand and tried to stop some of the major bleeding,” Dan told TODAY Parents. “He dealt with the situation calmly and I am extremely proud of him."
The driver, whose name has not been released, succumbed to his injuries shortly after first responders arrived on the scene. Eli then returned to the train to help injured and distressed passengers, Dan said.
“Eli is upset he couldn’t do more. I keep reiterating to him that he did everything he could. The State Highway patrol told him the same thing. There was nothing he could’ve done to save him,” Dan said.
Dan, a troop leader, said Eli was just one of many brave Scouts that jumped into action. There were also eight adult leaders onboard.
“These kids performed first aid and broke open windows so that people could get out. They comforted crying children,” Dan shared. The young men, who range in age from 13 to 17, also emptied debris from the cars so that paramedics had a clear path in.
“As a dad and a Scoutmaster I am incredibly proud,” Dan said.
Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America, said Troops 12 and 73 of Appleton, Wisconsin. were traveling home after a 10-day backpacking excursion in New Mexico.
“When a tragedy occurs, it’s always good to have a Scout troop in your vicinity” Armstrong told TODAY. “A 15 year old Boy Scout is worth more when you’re in trouble than an adult without that background.”
Armstrong said the organization will be offering mental health services to the Scouts and Scout leaders impacted by the accident.
Two people on the train were killed, in addition to the truck driver, NBC News reported. The collision derailed seven cars, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.