Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 8:08 AM
By: Jessica Oh, KIRO7.com
DUPONT, Wash. — A Puyallup man who was driving on a highway alongside a train that derailed in near Lacey, which is about 60 miles south of Seattle, says he and his friend rushed to help the victims moments after the crash.
Daniel Konzelman and his girlfriend Alicia Hoverson say they saw train cars with the roofs ripped off or tipped upside down Monday and a few vehicles on the roadway that were damaged.
"We weren't really planning on doing anything but it was crazy there was nobody helping. There's people in there that might be dying and we need to get in there," Konzelman, who is an Eagle Scout, said.
He says they climbed into train cars and found injured passengers, some who were pinned underneath the train and others who appeared to be dead.
"There were three people pinned underneath the car that was flipped upside down. I felt an urgency because I didn't see anyone meeting the need and I was like, why not?"
He and a police officer helped rescue a woman by lifting a train car off of her, he said.
Konzelman says that if victims could move and seemed stable, he helped them climb out of the train. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to offer comfort by talking to them to calm them down.
The couple is still trying to wrap their minds around one of Washington's worst train wrecks. They're grateful they had to chance to help strangers, even if it happened in a most unexpected way.
"I think God placed us there for a reason," Hoverson said.