Derailment survivor: no time to be afraid

WASHINGTON — Jason Scott, of New York, says he’s taken the Amtrak train from New York to Philadelphia four or five times, and that he always gets in the “last car, last seat.”

“It paid off,” on Tuesday night, he says.

When Amtrak Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia, Scott was thrown from his seat and suffered pain in his head, right arm and lower back.

The train had just left the 30th Street Station, Scott says, and he had just started to get comfortable for the trip, endeavoring to take off his shoes. He had one off, and the conductor had just scanned his ticket, “and I don’t think he made it to the back of the car.”

He still had only one shoe on when he talked with WTOP Wednesday morning.

The triage card Jason Scott got from the hospital. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The triage card Jason Scott got from the hospital. (WTOP/Kristi King)

“We crossed the river, [hit] the left curve, and everything just went wacky. … Lights went out; people were screaming.”

He says that the experience “felt like a movie,” and that passengers were busy helping each other out. He didn’t start taking pictures until he was clear of the wreckage, and remembers thinking, “Who would believe this?”

He says that while it was happening, he didn’t have time to be afraid. It wasn’t until he saw it on the news in the hospital that he thought, “I was in that? I walked away from that? That’s bananas.”

He was back at the 30th Street Station, expressing sympathy to the families of those killed and best wishes to those injured, and getting ready to catch a bus back home.

“I’m done,” he said. “This is crazy.”

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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