Dear Bob and Lee, my name is Ryan Ibbetson. On December 5, 2005 I was involved in what my company called a "misfortunate accident". I was a conductor on a freight train and I work for the biggest freight railroads in the country, or at least I did before my accident. On 12/5/05 six fully loaded gasoline tankers had become runaway bombs because the company did not repair a MAJOR saftey appliance that they knew was defective for some time. The saftey device is called a brake #### that is designed to slow down or hold rail cars by squeezing the wheels of the cars as they make their decsent down a steep grade into a classification yard containing hundreds of cars, a good percentage of which contain hazardous materials(pure chlorine, ammonia, sulfuric acid and ALOT of gasoline). The night I was hurt the formentioned gasoline cars were supposed to be held in the brake ####. By chance I was standing at the pinnacle of the hill where the cars were to be held. The cars were dropped in the #### by the locomotive crew, and the crew cut away from the tankers and began their decent into the bottom of the yard to grab more cars down at the bottom of the hill in the classification yard. There I was only a few feet away from these gasoline tankers on the crest of the hill. The brake #### are pneumatic, meening they squeeze the the wheels of the cars with the force of air. The compressor and underground air lines that supply the #### were around fifty years old and in an extreme state of disrepair therefor not supplying the brake #### with enough air to do what they were designed to do.
Back to the story. About three to five seconds after engine crew cut away from the tankers, I began to hear I high pitch squeeling noise and ever so slowly at first the tankers began to roll back into the hazmat yard where they came from. This hazmat yard contains hundreds of gasoline tankers mixed with tankers full of the most deadly chemicals known to man kind in the most concentrated and pressureised form. The cars were rolling from my right to my left, knowing that after the cars broke free of the #### they would be moving at a very high rate of speed before coliding with the cars in our hazmat yard, I quickly looked to my left to see where these tankers were headed. When I turned to look which track the cars were lined to go down, my heart sunk when I saw that the first car they would colide with would be a Chlorine car. That same year my company wiped out an entire town in South Carolina with just one Chlorine car. So there I was knowing that I had six fully loaded gasoline tankers traveling at a high rate of speed back to a yard that contains the most deadly chemicals known to man and at least one hundred more gasoline tankers in the heart of a major city. In a split second realizing that I was already dead, I knew that the only thing I could do to try to limit the eminit carnage was to try to board snow and ice covered tankers as they rolled by me. I made my decision that my next opportunity to board the runaway tankers and apply a hand brake would be as the end of the third car rolled towards me. I knew that I would probably never make it onto the ice covered brake platform at the speed the tankers were moving and would probably slip and wind up being crushed or cut in half but I knew either way I was dead already. But I made it! I applied the hand brake on the tanker fully which should have caused the wheels to lockup and at least begin to slow the cars down, but the brake did nothing. Now the rolling bombs I was riding were picking up speed very fast. I decided to turn around and see if I could jump to the next tanker and apply the brake, but that tankers brake was on the other end that I had no access to. Because of the tankers in front of me I could not see how close we were to impact with the first Chlorine car, so I decided I was going to jump. I knew if the brake linkage can become bound up on the tankers, so before I took my leap I kicked the brake linkage under the hand brake. As my feet left the platform I heard a ZIIIPPP. The hand brake became unbound after I kicked it but I was already in the air. Long story short, nothing ruptured and nothing exploded, and the people in the city all woke up the next morning never knowing what almost occured. On impact with the ground my femur punched down through my tibia, I crunched my lower back and sustained a T.B.I. I have been completly abondonded by my company. No benefits, no income. I don't have time to go into it now but a MASSIVE cover-up followed and through the lies they told to the Federal goverment they won a massive contract by covering up my accident. The is alot more lies, cover ups and soiling of my good name and perfect saftey record. My daughter has Spina Bifida and I saw that you were participating ay the Spina Bifida fund raiser I was extremly excited. Because of financial reasons we will not be able to attend but would really like to expose this story if it seems worth it because this problem still has not been addressed and is a ticking time bomb. Thank you, Ryan Ibbetson. Thanks so much
I've been posting(I think I have--may be doing someting wrong)here on T B I since May'08--my stepdaughter is a recovering T B I patient following a Domestic Violence attack Aug.6,2007--maybe you will see this and respond--if you do--THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!