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Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

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  • Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

    Rail worker phones for help after train severs legs
    Posted on Thu, Jun. 29, 2006
    By DAN X. McGRAW
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    His voice crackling, the man spoke frantically to a 911 dispatcher as he ran along a bloody trail leading to another man trapped underneath a rail car.

    “It’s bad, it’s bad,” he shouted over the phone. “He’s cut in half. It’s real bad.”

    It was one of three 911 calls the man made, hoping to get help for a co-worker whose legs were severed in a rail car accident in Cleburne.

    But 911 had already gotten a call — from the victim himself.

    Truman Duncan, 36, remained in critical condition at Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital Thursday, four days after the accident.

    Duncan, a Gunderson Southwest rail yard worker, either slipped and fell on the tracks or was attempting to cross the tracks when he was struck by a slow-moving rail car about 8 a.m. Sunday, Cleburne police said.

    After being hit, Duncan was dragged about the length of a rail car, between 60 to 75 feet, before being pulled under the car, said Keith Scarbrough, Cleburne’s assistant fire chief.

    Then, as he was entangled in the steel wheels and brakes of the rail car up to his torso, he reached for his cell phone and called 911.

    On the emergency call, Duncan is panting and out of breath. But he tells the operator that he has been run over by a rail car and needs assistance, possibly CareFlite.

    “I think I’m cut in two,” Duncan said.

    “Someone got run over?” the operator responded.

    “It was me,” Duncan continued. “I guess I’m going into shock. Hurry up ma’am because I’m about to pass out.”

    The call was disconnected. Fire officials said Duncan then called his wife to tell her what happened.

    One of Duncan’s legs had been severed at the hip, and the other was severed around the knee, officials said.

    Through a hospital spokeswoman, the family declined interviews Thursday.

    Police said Duncan and Christopher Payne, 30, were attempting to connect rail cars when the accident occurred. Duncan was giving Payne, who was backing up the rail car, the distance between the cars over a radio, according to a Cleburne police report.

    Duncan told Payne that he was within two car lengths, but Payne never heard a “one” count. When Payne began to slow the rail car, he heard Duncan screaming over the radio, the police report said.

    Duncan was the first to call 911 for assistance, but Payne called for help several times when police had trouble finding Duncan.

    Police and fire officials spent 10 minutes trying to locate him, Scarbrough said.

    At first, the injury appeared so severe that officials were unsure about whether they could free Duncan from the train without amputating his legs, said Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael. A surgical team was dispatched to the scene to help, but it was later rerouted, Ishmael said.

    Rail cars around Duncan could not be moved, because they posed the threat of further injuries to his legs. Rail cars on different tracks were moved, however, to allow emergency personnel better access to Duncan.

    The Fire Department brought in a crane as another option to extract Duncan, Ishmael said.

    “There is no way you can prepare yourself for this kind of situation,” he said.

    Fire officials were able to rescue Duncan by using two air bags to raise the rail car two inches off the ground. Duncan was freed less than an hour after he made the first 911 call.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday that they had begun an investigation of the accident, but they would not know anything until they could speak with Duncan.

    “We don’t know exactly what happened, but we know that there were moving rail cars,” said Mike Talmont, assistant area director.

    Talmont said OSHA also is trying to determine if Duncan and Payne were following proper work procedure at the time of the accident.

    Gunderson Southwest, which is located in southwestern Cleburne, repairs and refurbishes rail cars.

    A Gunderson Southwest receptionist who answered the phone Thursday directed all calls to Gretchen Brask, a lawyer with Gunderson’s parent company, The Greenbrier Companies of Lake Oswego, Ore.

  • #2
    Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

    While this story definitely shows the value of carrying a cell phone, I'm not sure that this would make a very good ad for Cingular or Sprint.


    • #3
      Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

      Wowsers! :O

      Sometimes it makes me wonder just how these accidents actually occur but obviously, they do. It certainly is not the first and sadly, probably not the last. To have the circumstances -- timing, placements, etc. -- play out in the right order to cause such horrifying tragedies.

      What presence of mind for the victim to be able to call 9-1-1!


      • #4
        Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

        Originally posted by RealRam
        Wowsers! :O

        Sometimes it makes me wonder just how these accidents actually occur but obviously, they do. It certainly is not the first and sadly, probably not the last. To have the circumstances -- timing, placements, etc. -- play out in the right order to cause such horrifying tragedies.

        What presence of mind for the victim to be able to call 9-1-1!
        It might have had something to do with adrenaline, what with being cut in half and all.


        • #5
          Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

 is a news/forum site (may need to copy and paste link) where this terrible accident is discussed:

          Not too many posts there which is good. One of the replies there is so foolish and 'retarded'!

          Elsewhere, through MSNBC's Web page on this story, I actually heard the 9-1-1 call made by Mr. Duncan, the badly injured man. AMAZING.

          Bottom line is that according to a 'family member' in, it seems like Mr. Duncan will pull through.
          Last edited by RealRam; -07-04-2006, 11:49 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

            wow, Godbless the guy, I hope he turns out alright, I mean I know he lost his other half of his body, but you'd be surprised what most people would settle for to stay alive, rather than be dead...
            Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams


            • #7
              Re: Man gets cut in half -- UPDATE JULY 5

              Severed legs victim's condition upgraded

              06:29 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 5, 2006

              From WFAA-TV Staff Reports

              Emergency operator Connie Taylor, inset, dispatched help for the man pinned under a train.

              6/30: 911 operator hopes to meet train survivor

              Send a note to Truman Duncan.

              Railroad employee who had his legs severed by a railcar has been upgraded from critical condition to serious Wednesday.

              Truman Duncan was able to dial 911 and explain to the operator, Connie Taylor, what had happened after his legs were severed by a train car while working at Gunderson Southwest Yard in Cleburne.

              TAYLOR: "State your emergency."

              DUNCAN: "I just got ran over by the rail cars. I need 911, CareFlite. I think I'm cut in two. I need everyone to hurry up now."

              Taylor managed to get Duncan help and said she would like to meet him in person someday.

              People from all over the world visited to pass along well-wishes to Duncan. His relatives said they are grateful for all of the prayers.
              Last edited by RealRam; -07-05-2006, 08:38 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!

                Atleast he was upgraded. But its still sad and frighting that he had to go through that.


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