Man Wills Himself to Live After Body Nearly Severed by Train

Truman Duncan said he survived being nearly cut in half by thinking of family.

ByABC News
January 22, 2009, 1:17 PM

Jan. 23, 2009— -- Truman Duncan should be dead.

Most people don't survive being run over by a train, but Duncan did.

In June 2006, Duncan was working at his job in the rail yards of Cleburne, Texas, when he slipped and fell onto the tracks while riding on the front of a train car that was moving toward a repair dock.

"I just fell," the 38-year-old said. "At that point I started running backwards, you know, obviously fast as I could, and I tried to outrun it. I didn't make it."

Duncan was pulled under the rail car, its wheels grinding steadily underneath.

"It just felt like a monster," he said. "I couldn't get away from it, like it was just pulling me in, and I'm pushing away … [and] I was cut in two."

By the time the rail car came to a stop, Duncan had been dragged 75 feet. His lower body, was still entangled in the wheels of the train, and he was cut nearly in half at the waist, with one leg attached by a single muscle.

"The pain was real severe, and then it just kinda like it wasn't there," Duncan said. "I think something else kicks in and then you try to do things necessary to stay alive."

Duncan knew he had to fight to stay alive.

"I knew if I just lay there and lay there and lay there, eventually I was gonna die," he said. "But if I stayed awake, made sure I got my help there then was a possibility that I would live and that's when I realized that I might have my phone on my hip."

Duncan was able to reach his cell phone and call 911.

CLICK HERE to hear Duncan's 911 call.

As ambulances and medics raced to the rail yard, he made one more call -- to his family.

"I called and talked to them. And started getting upset, and then that's when I just kinda closed the phone and put my phone over to the side and started trying to survive," he said.