Eli Skrypczak said how his “adrenaline kicked in” when the Amtrak train from Los Angeles to Chicago collided with a driver’s dump truck on Monday.
“Something took over and I knew what to do”, he recalled to news station WITI on Tuesday. “It was unreal. It still doesn’t seem real to me”.
Speaking with The Washington Post, Eli said he rushed to the front of the train to help other passengers before exiting the wreckage.
He then found a man – who later turned out to be the driver of the dump truck that collided with the Amtrak train – lying in a ditch.
Eli said he gave the man – who has not been formally identified by police – some water and tried to stop the bleeding using first aid skills. He also held the driver’s hand in the moments before his death.
First responders who arrived at the scene reportedly told Eli and a local farmer who were aiding the driver to “attend to the living”, the Post reported.
“They were trying to comfort him”, he said, adding that waiting for emergency crews felt “like a lifetime”.
His father Dan Skrypczak added in an interview with Fox News that the boys “jumped into action” as soon as the train came to an abrupt stop on its side.
“My son found the driver of the truck that was hit by the train lying in a ditch. He provided comfort and rendered first aid to the truck driver,” said Mr Skrypczak.
The father and son were among a 22-person Boy Scout group from Appleton, Wisconsin, who have since been praised for their heroism following the derailment.
The group secured people with possible spinal cord injuries into place and helped others escape by breaking the glass on the windows of the Amtrak train, reports said.
Eli added to WITI that he held carried younger children out of train wreckage “two at a time”.
It was carrying 275 passengers and 12 crew members, with 150 people needing to be taken to hospitals nearby, according to Amtrak. Three passengers died along with the driver, the Missouri state highway patrol said.
An investigation is currently ongoing into the derailment at the railway crossing, which locals had long criticised before Monday’s collision.