When an Amtrak train flew off the tracks and onto a highway in Washington, it was a disaster. The 501 train fell off a bridge onto the interstate with 75 passengers on board. Three people were killed while many others were injured.
"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," passenger Chris Karnes told CBS. "All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we're being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there's water gushing out of the train. People were screaming."
It's been reported that the speed limit on the bridge was approximately 30mph, but that the train was travelling closer to 80mph.
While others froze in panic, Second Lt. Robert McCoy jumped into action.
McCoy was driving down the interstate when he saw the train plunge over the side of the bridge. He slammed on his brakes just in time.
"The train is going south and I'm just kind of driving, just driving, and I hear a loud noise and I look up and I see the train and it hits the concrete walls on the side and when it hits the walls "” the walls kind of exploded "” and the train just falls off," McCoy recalled. "I see the train fall and it kind of falls on itself ... and it hits three vehicles that were in front of me "” a semi, a F-150 and a Kia Soul."
"I saw many people that were just paralyzed with fear and I don't blame them at all," McCoy said. "I mean, it was kind of a hard situation to watch unfold."
Rather than freeze, the soldier leaped into action, using his training. McCoy serves in the Army's medical field, so he knew he had to help.
"I remembered I had a tourniquet and a CPR mask in my truck and I grabbed those and I took off toward the accident. There were individuals who had been ejected from the train onto the pavement. And so my first initial thought was, I don't know how stable this is. If this train continues to fall, it's gonna fall on these individuals."
"I heard people in there asking for help and stuff," McCoy said. "There were people yelling, there was people looking for each other, looking for loved ones."
McCoy entered the train and found one family who was watched in horror as their grandmother was partially hanging out of the car.
"She was kind at the end here, dangling out, but another downed rail car was right here. Her daughter kind of pulled her out backwards and I just reached under her and picked her up and put her down on some form of safe structure."
Even though the situation was dangerous, McCoy knew he had a duty.
"I couldn't afford to be scared, I couldn't afford to be shocked. I had to do what I am called to do and focus and channel that and help these people around me get to safety as best as possible."