View Full Version : Box Car Racer

18-12-2009, 15:09:51
Man oh man, is this guy a catch.


Close call for man after wild ride on freight train

Edmonton–As Jonathan Hambler clung with his bare hands to the freezing metal of a freight train that was barrelling into a frigid prairie night, it occurred to him he'd made one pretty big mistake.

The 29-year-old had left a bar in Wetaskiwin, Alta., to escort a drunk friend home. It was —20C.

That's when he came up with the worst idea of his life.

"I just wanted to get across town a little quicker than walking," he said of his decision early last Friday to hop on a slow-moving freight train to get home a couple of dozen blocks away.

"I was going to jump off real soon, and I thought, `Give it a couple more seconds. It might slow down.' But it just kept going faster."

Hambler's headline-making wild ride had a relatively happy ending – just a couple of days in hospital getting treated for frostbite, along with a fine of up to $2,000 from Canadian Pacific Railway for petty trespass.

But lest anyone consider it a lark, Hambler has overcome his embarrassment sufficiently to come forward with his story for two reasons: first, to thank his rescuers, and second, to emphasize that what he did was no laughing matter.

"Everybody kind of thinks I'm joking about it, but it's really nothing to joke about," the soft-spoken and sombre young man said Wednesday. "I feel pretty stupid."

Hambler said when the train began to pick up speed, he didn't know at first what to think. He admits he had a pretty good buzz going and was "just kind of lost."

But once the train left town, reality started to sink in fast.

"This is pretty serious," he recalled thinking. "It started scaring me when I started getting a little cold."

Hambler was ill-prepared for the ride, which reached speeds of 90 km/h. He was wearing thin pants, sneakers, a winter jacket, but no gloves. Perched between cars, he was at the mercy of the wind and the bitter cold.

Luckily, he had the one thing that could save him – his cellphone.

"As soon as it started getting colder, I just called 911," he said. "I was kinda hoping it would work, because my phone was dying at the time."

The 911 operator had trouble hearing him, but her message came through loud and clear.

"She just asked me, straight up, what the hell I was doing on the train," he admitted. "Well, it was only supposed to go a couple of blocks."

The operator contacted RCMP, who quickly came up with an ingenious plan. They knew two trains were operating that night out of Wetaskiwin, about 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, and had to figure out how to quickly determine which one carried Hambler.

They contacted the engineers on both trains and asked them to blow their whistles at different times.

"When I was on the phone, she asked me if I could hear them blow the horn," said Hambler. "I heard the horn go off, and they just pretty much stopped the train and walked up the tracks until they found me."

By the time the officers found him, Hambler was hypothermic and was drifting in and out of consciousness. He doesn't remember a lot about the rescue except that the officers were extremely kind.

"They were real good to me. They just pretty much wanted to get me safe, get me warm," he said. They gave him their jackets and toques until they could get him to an ambulance.

Hambler said he wants all his rescuers, whom he called his "guardian angels," to know how grateful he is. And he wants them to know he does not take the experience lightly.

"It's changed me, opened my eyes quite a bit," he said. "I could have fallen off. Anything could have happened."

18-12-2009, 15:25:50

Just too intelligent to win a Darwin.

18-12-2009, 15:37:18
Cell phones will be the end of our society. Interfering with Darwinism.

Provost Harrison
18-12-2009, 16:27:04
$2000? Yikes...

18-12-2009, 16:30:30
Seems pretty cheap for a few hours of the emergency services time that might have been better spent elsewhere

18-12-2009, 17:58:02
This was in Canada. None of the places there are worth emergency service time.