An Omaha man was rushed to the hospital by helicopter early this morning after he was found pinned between a guard rail and a train car at the Mid-American Energy Power plant near Council Bluffs. Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Duane Richie identified the victim as 28-year old Michael McGillen, Junior, an employee of the Iowa Interstate Railroad.
Riche says the accident happened around 3 A.M., as the train, loaded with product for Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE), was backing toward a gate. The gate, which was supposed to have been opened by a SIRE employee, was closed. The railcar collided with the gate, causing a guardrail on the last car to bend inward, pinning McGillen’s stomach between the guardrail and a tank on the railcar.
Personnel on the scene were unable to free him. Lewis Township Rescue finally freed the man using mechanical means. A helicopter arrived to transport McGillen to an Omaha trauma center, but was unable to land at the plant due to the steam being generated from the power facility, so a landing zone was established at the nearby Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter.
A report on McGillen’s condition is currently not available. The incident remains under investigation by officials with the Iowa Interstate Railroad.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic