Two Boy Scout troop members from Appleton, Wisconsin, who were on board the Amtrak train that derailed on Monday in Missouri, found themselves using some of their own critical scout training to aid their fellow passengers — and the dad shared new insights with Fox News Digital about what happened.
Eli Skrypcza, 15, helped “comfort” the driver of the dump truck that was hit by the train.
The scouts were on their way home from a high-adventure backcountry trek in New Mexico. Dan Skrypczak, the father of Eli Skrypcza and a Boy Scout master himself, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that after all the boys were able to pull themselves out of the train, his son, Eli, ran to the front and found the driver of the truck lying in a ditch.
“He provided comfort and rendered first aid to the truck driver,” said the dad, who was not on this particular trip but described what his son and others told him.
“Gave him water and just helped get him comfortable and stayed there until a state patrol officer came over,” said Dan Skrypczak about his son’s efforts.
He added, “They tried to stabilize the driver, but unfortunately he did not survive.”
Said the dad, “There were 15 scouts and seven adults [accompanying the scouts] on the train. When the train derailed, most of the kids were on their phones — a lot of them lost their phones — [and] they went flying when the train derailed.”
“The kids eventually had to force or break the windows open. They proceeded to help lots of folks get out.”
“A number of them tried to get out,” said Skrypczak, “but they weren’t near an exit, so they were trying the windows and some wouldn’t open. The kids eventually had to force or break the windows open. Then they proceeded to help lots of folks get out.”
He continued, “My son, Eli, ran to the front of the train to help victims. My son found the driver of the truck that was hit by the train lying in a ditch — he provided comfort and rendered first aid to the truck driver.”
After that, “Eli went back and helped some of the other scouts get people out. There was stuff all strewn about — people sitting on one side of the train had fallen on others,” he said.
“There were lots of injuries, lots of bleeding,” said Skrypczak. “The scouts jumped in and did what they were supposed to do.”
“There were lots of injuries, lots of bleeding.”
He said that “it took about 10 minutes for EMTs to arrive. In that time, they helped get as many people out as possible.”
“Anyone [who was] complaining [of injuries] — they helped mobilize, got people on backboards and helped get people out to ambulances.”
Dan Skrypczak said further that the scouts “were helping keep some of the really small kids entertained.”
He said that one mother said “the scouts were awesome because they helped keep her 2-year-old occupied while she tended to her older child. I was proud to hear even simple things like that.”
The Boy Scouts “administered first aid to their leaders until EMTs arrived,” he also said.
“The kids escaped without major injuries. One was hospitalized briefly and three adult leaders suffered some non-life threatening injuries. They all took care of each other.”
He added, “One scout was stuck in the bathroom for over 35 minutes. They couldn’t open the door because it was being blocked by a victim who appeared to have gone into cardiac arrest.”
All things told, he said that he was “just so proud of all of them — Troop 73 and Troop 12. I don’t know if I would’ve had the poise and courage to be calm and be part of the solution at such a young age” as he said the boys had been.
“I don’t know if I would’ve had the poise and courage to be calm and be part of the solution at such a young age.”
“Right now,” he also said, “we are working on getting them all home. I am just excited to hug my boy. Right now, Eli is just sore. Emotionally, he seems OK. Not real clear if the adrenaline and shock have fully subsided.”
He explained that the scouts had been on their way from a trek in New Mexico.
“To go on the trip, [they had] to be at least 14 [years old] and have [had] a first-class ranking. To attain that rank,” he also said, the boys needed to have a first aid merit badge and other trainings that are important for them in terms of being “out in the backcountry. They used those skills they acquired in this situation.”
He added, “This is why we believe in the Boy Scouts program. It prepares them for life, builds character and leadership — and we love that about the program. I am beaming with pride. They all took the scout oath seriously. They’re a great group of kids and nobody was using the term ‘heroes’ — they were just being good scouts.”
The father and scout master told Fox News Digital that he also wanted to “give credit and a big thanks to all the EMTs and first responders and local fellow scout families that helped transport some of these kids.”
Young Eli Skrypczak himself told Fox News Channel exclusively about being in the middle of the derailment on Monday or any emergency, for that matter, “I mean, people are scared and some people don’t know what to do. So we know what to do.”
The dad wanted to “give credit and a big thanks to all the EMTs and first responders and local fellow scout families that helped transport some of these kids.”
The teen said he carried “a couple of kids in my arms, two at a time. I did that and I climbed on the train. They were calm as could be.”
He also said that a couple of older women were climbing out of the train, and he “help[ed] guide them and guide [other] people through” some of the windows and doors.
The teen added, “And I just started going down, making sure people were good.”
He said he “stabilized a couple of people on the ground, making sure they didn’t move,” as they had head injuries.
“There [were] people with more injuries that needed to be seen.”
He also said, “I got some cuts [on his] hands. My left hand was … covered in blood. So I just — I just went through it. I wrapped … my hand and just kept going because I mean, there [were] people with more injuries that needed to be seen.”
He added, “I just kind of made sure I was OK first and then started helping people.”
He also said there were “a lot of leg injuries. I know I carried this one lady into the bus — and she later had a fractured knee, a lot of cracked ribs, broken ribs, spinal issues. Um, pretty bad, pretty bad stuff.”