Two US Servicemen And Another Passenger Foil Terror Plot Aboard A Train In France


A high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris could have suffered from fatal damages by a suspected terrorist if not for the quick-thinking and response from a group of passengers on board.

Alek Skarlatos, a National Guard soldier, recalled in an interview how the spotted gunman was subdued in the train who could have fired some shots amidst the train being packed with passengers.

The man was heard loading his weapon while inside the train's restroom. As he came out with a rifle hanging over his shoulder and while he was holding a knife or box cutter, three men rushed to him and managed to prevent him from executing what authorities believe a planned terrorist attack.

"We heard a gunshot, and we heard glass breaking behind us, and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle," said Anthony Sadler, a graduating student from the Sacramento State University. "As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, 'Spencer, go!' And Spencer runs down the aisle."

Sadler was traveling with Spencer Stone, a member of the Air Force who hails from Sacramento, California and Alek Skarlatos, a National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon.

As a result, the train had to reroute to the French town of Arras which is around 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Paris where the apprehended gunman was arrested. There were more than 500 passengers on board the Thalys high-speed train which was traveling out of Amsterdam and was near the border between Belgium and France when the man was subdued.

The incident left a few people hurt which include Spencer (the man from the Air Force), a Briton and a Frenchman. There were two victims who were said to be in critical condition.

"The three of us beat up the guy," added Sadler.

The gunman was believed to be a 26 year-old who came from Morocco. He is now under the custody of the local authorities. The incident was initially handled by officials from the criminal investigation but had to be turned over later on to the counter-terror police force.

A White House official said that President Barack Obama, upon hearing about the incident on Friday, "expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including U.S. service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker." He also added, "While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy."

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