A 7-year-old girl trapped for more than two hours under a building toppled by a derailing train was pulled from the rubble with only minor injuries.
Vicki Jeffries was listed in satisfactory condition Wednesday in St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan, Tex., where she was being treated for an ankle injury. Her grandfather, W.E. Probst, suffered a broken leg in the Tuesday accident and was reported in stable condition at the same hospital.
Probst, 62, an agent for Burlington Northern, was in the small East Texas town's train depot when he saw an approaching freight train rocking perilously. He yelled for his granddaughter to run and tried to follow her out of the building.
"The first thing I said was, 'You get out of here,' " Probst said. "She did. If she'd have asked why, we'd both be gone. I saw the derailment happening down the tracks a bit. Before I could get six or eight feet, the building was down on me."
Fifteen cars loaded with grain flew off the tracks, ramming the wooden depot and knocking it off its foundation. Officials have not determined why the 104-car Burlington Northern train derailed.
"We heard the little girl screaming," said George Rush, who was across the street from the depot. "The first thing she said when we got there was, 'I don't want to die.' I told her it wouldn't happen."
Volunteer firefighters, neighbors, police officers and railroad workers struggled for more than two hours to dig the girl free.
"It was complete chaos," Sheriff Ed Fanning said. "They dug . . . on that thing until they finally got the stuff off her. The good Lord works miracles, and this was one of them."
Fanning said the girl, whose legs were wrapped around wooden support beams, remained calm.
"Every now and then, she'd cry a little, but she's an exceptional child," he said.