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Survivor of 1995 sunset limited derailment

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#1 DerailmentSurvivor1995


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Posted 31 January 2005 - 12:46 AM

Hello, forum members :

I am a survivor of the Sunset Limited Derailment , in Hyder, Arizona( 1995).

I was the individual that found the first copy of

I also was the last person to talk with Sleeping car attendant Mitchell Bates, 41, a 20-year Amtrak employee, before this incident occured.

Mitchell Bates was also discovered by myself, and I was the last person to hear his voice say, " Am I home? ". He died just moments later, in my arms.

I helped rescue many passengers that were injured, and was quite injured myself.

I was walking from one passenger car to the next, when the cars dis-engaged at 55 mph. I was left in mid-air, as I walked between the two doors that separated the two cars. I fell 34 feet at 55 mph down to the dry riverbank of Quail Wash.

I nearly was crushed by the 500 ton passenger car that landed only 10 - 15 feet away. My adreneline rush was the only thing that kept me from feeling my many injuries, as I helped rescue others.

While helping an elderly couple walk up the incline of the dry riverbank, to safety, I noticed a large rock on a pile of papers. I picked up the papers, and attempted to read what they said, but had a hard time reading in the moonlight. Another passenger had a flashlight from the train, so we read the 4 pages of the manuscript.

An hour and 45 minutes passed before the first helicopter arrived.
I sat down and finally felt an enormous pain in my legs and back.

I was refused medical treatment by the helicopter team, because I was able to walk .
The FBI also confiscated any luggage that was on the Sunset Limited, as evidence.
I had over $2,000 in my luggage, that I never recovered from the FBI.
The loss of this money caused me to become homeless... since I was travelling to California, to make a new start. This $2,000 was what I planned to use for a place to live and for food. Instead, I was forced to live on the streets for a very long time. The Luggage also contained all of my clothes, wallet, Identification, pictures, College Degree documentation of my Culinary Training, and everything needed to prove who I was and what I needed to obtain employment.

I just wanted to send a special " THANK_YOU " to the FBI for screwing up my life for 2 years. And for making my life a living HELL.

I am currently seeking passengers of this derailment, to see how their lives were effected by this unfortunate occurance.

Thanks for your time,

Respectfully Submitted,

Craig L.

#2 PRR 60

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 08:52 AM

I nearly was crushed by the 500 ton passenger car that landed only 10 - 15 feet away.

Gee, that is a prevously unreported problem. A grossly overweight Superliner!

#3 musher


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Posted 31 January 2005 - 12:12 PM

Perhaps that was the start of the 50lb per bag weight limit.

#4 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 01:34 PM

Kind of silly & immature responses, don't you think?????

Give the guy a break..

#5 Guest_ChooChooCharlie_*

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 02:28 PM

Kind of silly & immature responses, don't you think?????

Give the guy a break..

It seems he's already had enough breaks.

#6 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 12:06 AM


Sorry I shared any of this info....

If all you can do is joke about this incident....


Unless you have been through this type of emotional / physical disaster, dont be a jerk, OKAY ????

#7 DerailmentSurvivor1995


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Posted 01 February 2005 - 01:23 AM

The above post is MINE...I wasnt logged in at the time of posting.

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 06:33 PM

Well, I'll try to show some class here. You got hosed my friend. I always feel bad for anyone who has to go through a derailment or any major accident like you did. But your circumstances really are some of the worst I've ever heard. I don't know of anyone here that's experienced any derailment first hand (I almost did this summer), much less this incident. I feel for your situation, and I think it's great that you've been able to get back on your feet in such terrible circumstances. You never know where life is going to turn for you, but it's possible that this incident and its consequences will take you right where you're supposed to be. Keep you head held up, and don't stop thinkin about tomorrow.

The Chief
Rail Miles Travelled: 112,496

#9 Steve4031



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Posted 01 February 2005 - 09:26 PM

Hey, I'm sorry too. I was in a real minor deraliment when a RDC hit a trailer attached to a pick up truck at a grade crossing in Alaska. While there were no fatalities, the front trucks of the car did leave the tracks. I felt queasy just going near grade crossing for couple of weeks, and I basically walked away with no serious injuries. If we had hit that truck, than I would not be here probably. That is what the engineers. I was in the cab part of the RDC watching him drive at the time.

Hey guys, remember that this person is probably not a rail fan, and may not know as much as we do about trains. If one of those superliner cars was rolling over at me, it WOULD look like 500 tons to me.

#10 DerailmentSurvivor1995


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Posted 02 February 2005 - 01:41 AM

Thank You for those CLASSY replies...

I am very fortunate to here .

Once again, THANKS...


#11 bmlock


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Posted 02 February 2005 - 04:45 AM

I think one important thing to learn here, is to not leave cash in your luggage. I have never had a baggage problem on Amtrak (which is more than I can say for the airlines), but you still never know what may happen. Granted this was an unusual circumstance, but it is possible for someone to screw up on the Amtrak system. It is not easy to deal with a trajedy like that, but you must move on and conqure your fears. I watched a B-52 bomber crash into the ground right in front of me. It would have went right over my head had he not crashed it. I worked alongside those on board and on the aircraft itself, and it does mess with your mind a bit. I was also on a two engine jet where both engines shut down. That's an eerie quited with negative g's. I still don't care for flying, but I do if I have to.
ex BNSF sparkchaser
18,216 amtrak miles

#12 Guest_Dave N._*

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:16 PM

I, too was on that train, coming home from a mellow vacation trip.

My mother was with me, and she got messed up pretty well. I was lucky and came out with only a small bruise.

I lost the friends I made on the trip, due to the shuffle and chaos that ensued after we never traded numbers or anything. Anyone who remembers this trip, please pipe in :)


Dave in Northern California

#13 the_traveler



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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:15 PM

Just for the record: This thread is almost 6 years old!Posted Image And the OP has not been active on AU since 2/2/05!Posted Image
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#14 had8ley



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Posted 14 January 2011 - 04:17 PM

Just for the record: This thread is almost 6 years old!Posted Image And the OP has not been active on AU since 2/2/05!Posted Image

Good find Dave...as you say "being normal is vastly overrated..."

#15 Guest_john_*

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:51 AM

there are some good videos on this crash on youtube by someone named arizonadventures or something like that, you might get a lot of feedback form other people who where on the train like yourself.

#16 George Harris

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:54 PM

It is obvious that some of these threads show up when people make a search using some of the subjects and words in them. Before making a response, check the date of the first few posts. It may change how you respond, or even if you respond at all. In fact, note that there is over a year between had8ley's post and Guest_John's post. I see no reason to do further posts to this thread.

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