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Boy Scouts from Wisconsin helped injured during train derailment in Missouri

Posted at 7:27 AM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 18:57:53-04

Police say four people are dead and at least 50 others including Boy Scouts from Appleton, Wisconsin are recovering from injuries following a train derailment in Missouri on Monday.

The 16 kids and 8 adults from Appleton are all okay.

A Boy Scouts representative tells WTMJ Radio the scouts helped injured passengers at the scene.

"Scouters started rendering first aid and assistance to other passengers to get them out of the train cars and get them to ambulances," said Scott Armstrong, the Director of National Media Relations for the Boy Scouts of America. "One of our scouts, age 15, went forward to the point of impact and discovered a person in a ditch close to the point of impact. It was later determined this was the driver of the truck that was struck by the train. That scout rendered comfort and aid until the driver passed away on scene."

Authorities say that the dump truck driver was among the four people killed. The train slid to a stop on its side after hitting the truck at a crossing in a small town called Mendon, Missouri.

Amtrak says this is its Southwest Chief, which was heading from California to Chicago with 250 people on board. Police say the two others killed were on the train. Now the NTSB has federal investigators headed to the scene to look into what caused this crash.

The Appleton Boy Scouts aboard the Amtrak train are speaking out.

Isaac Berken, 15, was heading back from a backpacking trip in New Mexico with his troop when the train derailed.

"For maybe a second or two I was really in shock," Berken said.

The train tipped over. Without any hesitation, Berken and his fellow scouts rushed to help.

"Once I personally made sure everyone was okay, I just started walking from car to car, assisting in any way I could," Berken said. "Perhaps putting a neck brace on someone or comforting people."

Troop leaders say one scout and three adult leaders were hospitalized. Two adult leaders were seriously hurt, but should be okay.

"I just started going on the train and trying to bash windows and carry people out," said boy scout Elijah Skrypczak in an interview with NBC Nightly News.

Skrypczak stayed with the driver of the dump truck as he passed away.

"Eli gave him some water and held his hand and tried to stop the bleeding," said his father, Dan Skrypczak.

The boy scouts are humble, but their parents are proud. They hope the boys can return home Tuesday evening.

"It didn't surprise us, we do feel proud of them, even if they don't see it as heroic, what they did was very commendable," said Berken's mother, Sarah.

"When that train hit, no one cared about personal belongings, luggage or any of that stuff. Everyone was caring about human lives and injuries and first aid," Berken said. "It shows the priorities of the good people on that train."

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