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BNSF News

BNSF Crew on Seattle Sounder Train Rescues Injured Trespasser

2010-07-01

The BNSF crew running the Seattle Sounder commuter service was making what should have been a routine run between Seattle and Everett, Wash.

A picturesque route that parallels the coast, the ride is scenic enough to help passengers relax after a busy day at work.

Shortly before 6 p.m. June 22, Engineer Dan Hart saw four trespassers on the main tracks ahead. Hart immediately began sounding the train's whistle and slowing the train as three of the four trespassers got away from the tracks and out of the way. But the fourth trespasser remained on the tracks with her back to the train, not moving as the train approached, whistle blaring.

Hart began emergency brake application and slowed the train down significantly, but, unfortunately, the passenger was struck and fell from the tracks, over a seawall and into Puget Sound.

Seconds later, the train stopped, and Conductor Pete Gushwa departed the train and saw the woman face down in the Puget Sound. He descended the seawall and helped remove her from the water. Because the area is isolated and virtually inaccessible to emergency responders, the train crew realized their only real option to help the woman quickly was to take her by train to the nearest station, where she could then be moved to a medical facility. Gushwa then carried her back up the seawall and placed her onboard the train.

The woman's three friends boarded, also, and the train proceeded to nearby Edmonds, where an ambulance -- and police -- were waiting.

"Mr. Gushwa's and Mr. Hart's decisive actions saved 30-60 minutes of response time and, most likely, the woman's life," said Roger Jacobsen, superintendent, Suburban Services.

A second train crew was also onboard and helped Hart and Gushwa with a variety of duties. Engineer Dennis Shogren assisted with moving the woman onto the train and assisted with other duties as needed. Conductor Willie Rollins helped make emergency notifications to a dispatcher and to 911 while making announcements to keep passengers calm and informed.

"The second crew contributed greatly in supporting the communication process and in keeping passengers away from the scene onboard the car," Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen pointed out that not many people can say they lived after being struck by a train. "The crew responded quickly, calmly, and made excellent decisions under very traumatic circumstances," he said. "But because of our crews' actions, we hope that this trespasser will be able to overcome her injuries."

About the photo: The train crew on the Seattle Sounder commuter train rescued a trespasser in an area near this location.

BNSF Headquarters

BNSF Railway Company
2650 Lou Menk Dr. 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 961057
Fort Worth, TX 76161-0057
Phone: (817) 352-1000

For more information on the company and its transportation solutions, visit the BNSF Web site at www.bnsf.com


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