Doctors were forced to amputate the arm of a freight train conductor on a Union Pacific locomotive who was pinned in the wreckage of a train collision early last Friday morning. The freight train apparently rear-ended another train that was being pushed out of a rail yard in Fontana, California, on the same track, according to the Associated Press, reporting on this California freight train collision. In the violent impact, the the conductor's locomotive derailed and apparently wound up on top of other cars.
First responders were unable to free the conductor--who had "heavy amounts of steel on his arm"--from the wreckage, ABC News reports detailing the amputation of the conductor's arm indicated, and a surgical team was forced to amputate. The conductor is, fortunately, expected to recover although his is still hospitalized in serious condition. An engineer was successfully pulled from the wreckage with only minor injuries. There apparently were no other injuries.
It took about 12 hours for the crews to pull the mangled trains apart (which, combined, totaled 160 rail cars). About 500 gallons of anitfreeze leaked from one of the cars in the massive collision, but Hazmat workers determined that no environmental threat. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Railroad injuries can be severe and completely alter your life. This incident among others sadly reaffirms the high-risk, life-threatening nature of working in the railroad industry. Amputation-related injuries in particular involve both physical and mental suffering that can be devastating.
Railroad employers don't always put the employee at the top of the priority list, however, so If you're a railroad worker, you might be interested in finding out about all of your rights, including legal protections provide by the Federal Employers Liabilty Act (FELA), if or when you get hurt on the job. Our free book about railroad worker's hurt on the job written exclusively for railroad employees includes do's and don'ts for how to make sure you receive full compensation.