Political News

GOP congressmen describe scene aboard train

Posted January 31, 2018 12:02 p.m. EST

— Two Republicans who were on the train that crashed in Virginia on Wednesday described the harrowing scene they came across when they tried to assist those hurt in the collision.

"When we first knew something was up, it felt like we had gone over a boulder. But we quickly saw that there was a truck that had been hit -- a garbage truck," Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio told CNN's "New Day" Thursday. "It was off to the side of the train, garbage thrown all over the place. And then I heard someone say that there was a couple of people on the ground."

Wenstrup and Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas were two of several doctors aboard the train, which was on its way to a Republican retreat at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. No members of Congress were seriously injured.

When Marshall exited the train, he and Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee worked on one of the crash victims.

"I also checked for pulse, couldn't find any, so we initiated CPR and tried for several, several minutes," Marshall told "New Day." "Eventually, EMS showed up. We tried shocking the patient a couple times, still unsuccessful, kept with CPR and just never really got the gentleman back."

The driver of the truck was killed. Six patients were transported to UVA Medical Center, with one in critical condition.

Wenstrup said that while assisting another injured person who was bleeding from his nose, the spouse of a member, who is an anesthesiologist, came to help.

"We were very diligent in trying to make sure that he maintained an airway and that he kept breathing and checking his vital signs. Ultimately, one of the spouses on the train is an anesthesiologist. She made every attempt using some of the equipment brought by the EMTs to do an intubation. It was very difficult because he wasn't sedated, but at the same time, it had a positive effect ... he gradually was a little bit more responsive although unconscious the whole time," Wenstrup said.