Boy Scouts Stepped Up to Aid Passengers Injured in Deadly Amtrak Wreck

Two Boy Scout crews that had recently gone on a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico were on board the Southwest Chief when it derailed this week. The Scouts quickly sprang into action. Photo Courtesy of Philmont Scout Ranch. 

Boy Scouts Stepped Up to Aid Passengers Injured in Deadly Amtrak Wreck

By Justin Franz 

MENDON, Mo. — Among those rendering aid to the victims of the deadly Amtrak Southwest Chief derailment this week in Missouri, were two groups of Boy Scouts returning from a week-long trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. 

The Scouts were going home to Wisconsin when their train, eastbound No. 4, hit a truck and derailed at a remote crossing in Missouri, about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City. Four people were killed in the incident, including the truck driver. According to the Boy Scouts of America, the 16 Scouts and eight adults from Boy Scouts Troops 12 and 73, immediately started helping their fellow passengers get out of the overturned passenger cars. One of the Scouts spotted the truck driver who had been ejected and was lying in a nearby ditch. The young man provide first aid and comfort before the driver died of his injuries. 

“In true Scouting fashion, the Scouts rendered aid to their fellow passengers before they worried about anything for themselves,” said Scott Armstrong, Director of National Media Relations for Boy Scouts of America. 

Two adult crew members and two Scouts were transferred to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Most of the Scouts had earned emergency preparedness and first-aid merit badges and some were even certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. 

“It’s impressive to see that our Scouts utilize the skills that prepare them for a Philmont Wilderness First Aid situation in an emergency crisis and response event,” said Roger Hoyt, General Manager of Philmont Scout Ranch. “No one wants to use these skills, but I’m sure glad the Scouts and leaders were there and prepared to act.” 

“Philmont is proud of the heroic efforts of the Scouts from Crews 619-7D 1 and 2,” Hoyt added. “They exemplify the Scout Oath, Law and servant leadership through their actions.”

The Boy Scouts have a long history with the Southwest Chief. During the summer, thousands of Scouts take the train to Raton, N.M., so that they can go on week-long backpacking trips at the Philmont Scout Ranch in nearby Cimarron. 

This week’s incident was not the first time Scouts going to or from Philmont aboard the Southwest Chief have put their training to use. In 1997, the same train derailed in Arizona when it hit a washed-out bridge. Again, Scouts stepped up and helped passengers get off the train. No one was killed in that incident.

This article was posted on: June 30, 2022