Daniel Konzelman, a 24-year-old Eagle Scout, was driving to work with his girlfriend when he noticed an Amtrak train zipping past him.
He was cruising along at 60 or 65 mph, so he knew the train was going faster than that.
“I’d never seen a train going that fast in the past,” he told the Seattle Times. “I drive that stretch every day.”
We now know the Amtrak Cascades 501 train was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed Monday over Interstate 5 in DuPont, Wash. Three passengers were killed and dozens more were hurt.
Konzelman came upon the scene moments later as everyone started braking in front of him.
“I looked up and saw the train was hanging off,” Konzelman said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this was major.’”
Konzelman and his girlfriend, Alicia Hoverson, were in their work clothes. They hurriedly put on some boots and grabbed a flashlight.
They were among the first on the scene.
“Nobody was there, nobody was leading or responding to the incident,” Konzelman told CBS News. “I did my best to sort of take charge of the situation.”
In all, Konzelman, Hoverson and a police officer helped about 15 people escape the train. Many of the victims had broken ankles and bleeding head wounds. Most were in some state of shock.
Konzelman helped as many people escape the dangerous situation as he could. For those who were pinned, Konzelman was a calming presence, comforting them and praying with them until emergency workers could arrive.
Konzelman says his Scout training taught him what to do in an emergency. He became an Eagle Scout on Feb. 25, 2012, as a member of Troop 604 of Eatonville, Wash., part of the Pacific Harbors Council.
As any Eagle Scout will tell you, you never think you’ll need to use the first aid skills you learn as a Scout. Until you do.
“I think it was all those Boy Scout camps I went to and the First Aid merit badge, the Lifesaving badge, that helped me know what to do,” he told the Seattle Times. “I’m thankful for God who gave me the courage to go in there.”
Konzelman’s heroism involves more than knowing how to treat a bleeding wound. It’s about being helpful, friendly and brave, too.
“What would I want somebody to do for me if I was in that position?” he told CBS News. “Or if one of my brothers was in that position?”
In any scary news story, they say to look for the helpers.
That’s exactly what major media outlets did after the derailment. They looked for helpers like Daniel Konzelman.
In addition to CBS News and the Seattle Times, Konzelman’s heroism has been covered by the Associated Press, People magazine, ABC News, the Boston Herald, CNN and many more local and national outlets.
His highest-profile appearance so far was Tuesday’s episode of CBS This Morning. After the two-minute piece, which you can watch below, the hosts briefly discussed Konzelman.
“No surprise, Anthony, that that guy is an Eagle Scout,” Gayle King told Anthony Mason.
“Eagle Scouts should be very proud of him today,” Mason responded.
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