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Nurse went into ‘fight or flight mode’ when train derailed

A train derailed near the Chambers Bay golf course on July 2. (West Pierce County Fire and Rescue)
LISTEN: Passenger on Amtrak Cascades train that derailed near Steilacoom gives her account of the incident

It was Lynsey Barker’s first train ride ever on Sunday — from Portland to Seattle — when the car she was on derailed just north of the Chambers Bay golf course.

No official cause of the incident has been determined, but Barker describes what she witnessed.

RELATED: Passenger train derails near Steilacoom

“We were on the car closest to the engine, so it was obvious from our car,” she told The Dori Monson Show. “It screeched and we started going off the tracks into the gravel toward the banks of the water. I was right by the window so I saw a man jump in the water from near the front.”

Barker explained that the man who jumped into the water was not on the train, but on the tracks near a bridge. She was told that he was an employee trying to lower the bridge for the train to cross. He jumped out of the way as the engine derailed with the car behind it. The remaining cars all stayed on the tracks.

But Barker’s car — near the engine — was left tipping off of the rails.

“Everyone in my car was pretty shocked. People were not sure what to do,” she said. “I’m a nurse; I went into fight or flight mode and I told everyone to get onto the other side of the train. I was near the window so I didn’t want people coming to my side of the train and we end up in the water.”

“If our car had gone into the water, the whole train would have,” Barker said. “We are the heaviest with the engine.”

Eventually, the train cars were evacuated and passengers spent a couple hours waiting for buses to take them to the Tacoma terminal.

“There were a lot of people fainting because of the heat,” Barker said. “So they had medics come in to take them away.”

Hear Barker’s full interview on The Dori Monson Show here.

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