“There was a lurch. We started bouncing along the railroad ties, and then the world went completely topsy turvy,” Nathan Rich told Zach Burns and Mike Lewis on KIRO Radio’s The Ron and Don Show Monday.
Rich, a Federal Way resident, was a passenger on the Amtrak train that derailed Monday morning near DuPont.
Rich and his girlfriend were taking the train to Portland for a day trip. They sat in the fourth car from the back of the train. That car eventually landed upside down across southbound I-5.
“We had just gotten done going through the new stretch that parallels the freeway and we were noting that ‘Man, we’re really booking. We are leaving all these cars behind,’” he said.
Rich, a train enthusiast, said he often looks at an app on his phone that tells him how fast the train is traveling. Before the train went off the tracks, he remembered seeing a speed of 82 miles per hour.
The Seattle Times reported that the curve where the train derailed should have been taken at about 30 miles per hour.
“By the time we ground to a halt, I looked up and I was about 4 feet inside the car covered in dirt and broken glass and I was looking right at cars on I-5,” Rich said.
He and his girlfriend were sitting next to each other before the crash.
“By the time we came to a rest she was about 3 feet further into the car, also covered in dirt and blood,” he said.
“The whole incident of course feels like it lasted forever, but it was probably no longer than about 7 seconds that we were actually tumbling around,” he said. “It was about like being in a spin cycle of a washing machine.”
Rich injured his leg in the impact and is now home recovering. His girlfriend, who hit her head, is still in the hospital.
After the crash happened, Rich said onlookers immediately began to assist.
“People are awesome, I want to say. Because there were people all over the freeway that were helping out, giving out water, first aid kits, jackets, everything.”