2 Boys Killed by Train After Heartbreaking Rescue Attempt Gone Wrong

tracks

In a heartbreaking story out of North Carolina, two teenage boys were killed Thursday afternoon by an Amtrak train as one tried to pull the other out of the way of the New York-bound train. 

One of the friends was lying on the tracks as the train barreled down on them at approximately 2 p.m., according to a 911 caller. The other desperately tried to drag his buddy to safety when both were hit and killed, ABC 11 reported.

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While it's unclear what led 17-year-old Robert Naughton and 18-year-old Alan Peedin to the tracks, one thing is clear, they're not the only teenagers drawn to this dangerous spot.

The Federal Railroad Administration estimates that 500 people die every year walking on railroad tracks.  

Many consider the route a quick and easy shortcut, while others -- primarily teens -- view the railroad tracks as an attractive hangout, causing increasing concern among rail-safety advocates.  

"We are working so hard to try to figure out a way to turn this around," Marmie Edwards of Operation Lifesaver, an international rail-safety advocacy group, told USA Today in 2010.

"It may be that in some parts of the country, the railroad tracks are a little bit secluded. So (teens) think it's a place where they can go to just hang out without other people knowing what they're doing. Sometimes, when you tell this age group this is not where you should go, that's where they're going to want to go."

Remember that incredibly suspenseful scene from the film Stand By Me in which the boys have to outrun a locomotive bearing down on them? That footage is enough to give any mom nightmares for weeks, but at least those fellas had the benefit of hearing the train. That's not necessarily the case any longer.

Gone is the "clickety-clack" sound we grew up with, as rails now boast longer sections of track, making them far less noisy. Also, many communities have enacted "quiet zone" regulations that prevent engineers from blowing their horns during certain hours. 

Safety advocates also blame grandparents who want to show the kiddies a nifty experiment and take youngsters to the tracks to illustrate how a train can flatten a penny. 

Just last year some boys from my son's football team wandered out to the tracks to try that very trick after a team dinner. Fortunately, their coach, who nearly had a heart attack when he found them, called them in and educated them on the danger. Still, he shook his head in astonishment that at almost 13 years old, they didn't know better.

The loss of these teens in North Carolina is devastating, but if their deaths spark important safety discussions, they will not have been in vain. 

Have you talked with your kids about rail safety?


Image ©jaboo2foto/shutterstock

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