A 10-year-old was hospitalized in critical condition after his leg was severed by a slow-moving train he was playing on Saturday afternoon near Minneapolis’ Webber Park.
Officers arrived at the scene near 44th and Bryant Avenues N. on the city’s North Side around 1:30 p.m. to find the boy critically injured, according to Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder. The victim and two friends, boys ranging in age from 10 to 13, had been hopping on and off a slow-moving train along the Canadian Pacific Railway line that runs along the park’s northeastern side.
The boy had fallen while playing on the train, been dragged a distance and then was run over, Elder said. The boy’s right leg was severed below the knee and his left leg was badly injured. He also suffered head injuries, Elder said.
The officers, who had medical training and were carrying tourniquets, were able to control the bleeding until emergency medical workers arrived. Their swift action probably saved his life, Elder said.
The boy was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and was expected to survive. The other boys were uninjured.
“People have to understand that it is exceptionally dangerous to play on and around railroad tracks,” Elder said. “A train will win every time.”
Phillip Murphy, who owns a flower shop nearby, saw an emergency responder pick up the boy’s severed limb as other medics and police officers tended to the boy on the ground between the rails near the crossing.
“The first responders were running in a desperate attempt to save the young person’s life,” Murphy said. By the time medics arrived, the train was not in sight, he added.
“The few folks here were in shock,” he said. “A woman that first came upon [the boy] and realized his leg was gone.”
Soon after the incident, investigators with Canadian Pacific Railway arrived and started their investigation. The freight train involved had been heading to St. Paul from Saskatchewan, said rail spokesman Andy Cummings.
“We ordered the train that had been in the area at the time to stop … after it left the immediate vicinity,” Cummings said. Rail officials then went to the scene.
At least three people have been killed in railroad accidents since last December.
A 16-year-old boy wearing headphones and walking the tracks in Coon Rapids was struck and killed by an oncoming train three days before Christmas. Another man tripped and fell on tracks in January.
The most recent fatality involved a 63-year-old man who crawled under a stationary train in Winona, Minn., and was run over when it began moving again.