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Homeless man critical after South Salt Lake rail-yard amputation

Published August 31, 2012 10:21 am

Accident • Metal inside freight car had shifted, buried him.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A 19-year-old homeless man was in critical condition Friday, the day after medical personnel amputated his leg to free him from tons of metal inside a train car at a South Salt Lake rail yard.

South Salt Lake police Sgt. Carla Armstrong said the man, whose identity remained undetermined, had undergone additional surgery overnight.

A doctor was forced to amputate one of the man's legs Thursday afternoon in order for emergency workers to free him from metal that had fallen on him inside the train.

The train had left Denver early Thursday morning with the man and his dog inside one of the open cars transporting strips of plate steel. Perhaps as long as eight hours before he was eventually found, the steel load shifted and fell on the man, burying him from the waist down and killing the dog.

A railway worker found the man about 1:10 p.m. Thursday at the Union Pacific Roper Rail Yard, 650 West and Davis Road (2190 South).

The man was still conscious as emergency workers first tried to lift the metal off him by hand, and then with a crane. The efforts caused him so much pain that a surgeon was called to the scene to perform the amputation. The man was flown by medical helicopter to the hospital.

remims@sltrib.com