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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 20:32 GMT
Marine saved rail crash passenger
Tom McPhee
Tom McPhee: "I did what any good person would do"
A Royal Marine praised as a hero has spoken of his efforts to save victims in the Berkshire rail tragedy.

Tom McPhee, 34, was returning to his home in Exmouth, Devon after watching his team, Chelsea, beat Everton.

Mr McPhee and his friend Brian Kelmsly, 35, also from Exmouth, had just arrived in the buffet carriage when the train hit the car on the track.

Mr McPhee tried in vain to help Louella Main, nine, but he was able to comfort Sharmin Bacchus, 37.

He recalled: "We knew the train had crashed but we were up quite sharpish."

Mr McPhee put his jumper around Louella Main's head in an attempt to stem the flow of blood, but was unable to save her.

Then they went back into the carriage, where they found Ms Bacchus trapped.

They kept her conscious until paramedics arrived, even joking about going out for a pint at the weekend.

It's definitely thanks to him that I'm here
Sharmin Bacchus

Ms Bacchus, who suffered cracked ribs and a broken pelvis, said: "When I was going he was shouting at me.

"That worked really well. He kept squeezing my hand and making me squeeze his. He kept me alive."

She said she could not thank him enough and added: "It's definitely thanks to him that I'm here."

Mr McPhee said it was "brilliant" to hear her voice when he spoke to her on the phone at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

He and Mr Kelmsly then helped to carry about half a dozen people to safety.

Mr McPhee who suffered only slight whiplash and bruising to his back, said he had struggled with the emotional aftermath of the crash.

'Struggled through'

He said: "I am very very shocked by it all. At the time it seemed like second nature but later the whole experience, especially the little girl, with having children of my own, hit home.

Chelsea won and went top of the league that day, but it seems of very little benefit now
Tom McPhee

"I have struggled through today.

"I would like to think I just did what any good person would do.

"Chelsea won and went top of the league that day, but it seems of very little benefit now."

The father-of-two, who is originally from Scunthorpe, is a company Sergeant Major with 42 Commando based in Bickleigh, near Plymouth.

He has been a Royal Marine for 18 years, and has recently served in Afghanistan and Iraq.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Investigations continue at the scene of the crash



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