Amtrak 188 Survivor Finally Meets His “Guardian Angels”

Bob Hewett says he shares a "special bond" with the men who saved him.

Robert Hewett (center) finally met the first responders who saved him from the 2015 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. (Courtesy Robert Mongeluzzi)

Robert Hewett (center) finally met the first responders who saved him from the 2015 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi)

Bob Hewett had a small request when the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic Amtrak crash rolled around earlier this month: He wanted to meet the men who saved his life.

Hewett, 58, was riding in the first car of Amtrak Train 188 when it derailed in Frankford last May. He suffered a litany of gruesome injuries — broken ribs, collapsed lung, a tear in his diaphragm — and spent seven weeks in a medically induced coma.

He still clearly remembers the first responders who pulled him from the wreckage, and the horror of hearing one say to his colleagues, “This guy’s got to go now, the whole back of his head’s coming off.’” Hewett recently told reporters that he just wanted to thank them, plain and simple.

Well, sometimes wishes do come true, even in stories that are mostly filled with yawning chasms of sadness and regret. Hewett had lunch last Wednesday with two of the firefighters and two of the police officers who rescued him last spring, according to Robert Mongeluzzi, Hewett’s attorney.

“We now share a very special bond, and I look forward to continuing to stay in touch,” Hewett said, according to a news release from Mongeluzzi’s law firm. Hewett offered special thanks to Lisa Hogan, the wife of Fire Department Lt. James Hogan, who was one of Hewett’s rescuers.

She connected the dots between her husband’s descriptions of a passenger he helped that night and Hewett’s nightmarish memories of the crash, which she saw him recount on TV recently. Lisa Hogan reached out to Hewett and helped him identify his other rescuers: Firefighter Michael Flacco, and Philadelphia police officers Padraic Feeney, Kevin McGrorty, Bryan Turner and Sean King.

Hewett met in Center City with Hogan, Flacco, Feeney and McGrorty on May 18th. (Turner and King were tied up with police work.) “Finally, I know the identity of these brave individuals and have been able to thank them — even have lunch with four of my guardian angels,” Hewett said.

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