Teen Hero Speaks on Amtrak Train Crash

By Corinne Rose
By Scott Sarvay

June 27, 2011 Updated Jun 27, 2011 at 6:27 PM EDT

NEAR RENO, Nevada (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A harrowing experience for a Fort Wayne teen who was among those traveling on Amtrak's California Zephyr when a semi plowed into the passenger train leaving six people dead in Nevada last Friday.

South Side graduate 18-year-old Alex Graham and his mother were on the train, but not hurt.

Indiana’s NewsCenter talked to Alex on the phone Monday afternoon, and had him explain what was going through his mind when he realized that the train had been hit.

Alex said, “There was a big jolt, and the train kinda rocked, then I looked out the window and my entire view was just fire, and I felt the heat instantly. I just jumped up and said, “Mom we need to get off the train.” I ran down to the door, and had to wait for the train to stop because, it was going like 80 miles an hour. As soon as it stopped we got to the emergency door, and we got out of the train.”

After getting off the train, Alex then assisted other passengers pulling them to safety.

Following the chaos, they were given food and a change of clothes, then were later picked up by Graham's uncle.

Officials say the crossing's gates and lights were working when the semi hit his brakes and skidded more than 300 feet before hitting the train, which was travelling from Chicago to California with more than 200 people on board.

At least 20 people still remain unaccounted for.

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