Americans Credited With Stopping Attacker on Paris-Bound Train – ABC News

Three Americans — two of them service members — helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued an attacker on board a high-speed train bound for Paris.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler were on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday when a man armed with an automatic rifle and a box cutter started attacking passengers. Sadler was visiting Stone, 23, an Air Force airman stationed in Portugal, and Skarlatos, 23, an Army National guardsman stationed in Afghanistan.

“I came to see my friends on my first trip in Europe and we stopped a terrorist,” Sadler told Eurovision. “It’s kind of crazy.”

Sadler said during the ride, they heard a gunshot in the carriage behind them and glass shattering. They then saw an armed man entering their carriage and holding an automatic weapon as if he was ready to begin firing.

“Alek just yells, ‘Spencer go!’ and Spencer just gets up within five seconds of the guy being in the car and just rushes back there,” said Sadler. “He gets up, I get up and Alek gets up and all three of us just rush back there.”

PHOTO: French emergency services transport a victim after a shooting on the Amsterdam to Paris Thalys high-speed train in Arras, France, Aug. 21, 2015.

Stone tackled the attacker to the ground, said Sadler. As Sadler, Skarlatos, and a fourth passenger, Chris Norman, jumped in to hold him down, the attacker pulled out a box cutter and slashed Stone.

“If anybody is a hero, it is pretty much Spencer,” Sadler added. “He was bleeding himself, could barely see, blood running down his own face.”

Norman said Saturday he was acting purely on survival instincts when he jumped in to help hold the attacker down.

“My thought was I’m probably going to die anyway, so let’s go,” he said. “I’d rather die being active … than simply sit in the corner and be shot.”

Stone was set to undergo surgery Saturday morning after he had his finger nearly severed, according to his family. He grew up with Skarlatos in Carmichael, California, and their families were neighbors.

“I just wish he [Stone] didn’t have to get hurt, but they saved lives,” Stone’s mother, Joyce Eskel, told ABC affiliate KXTV-TV in Sacramento, California.

PHOTO: Crime investigators look into the window of a Thalys train at the main train station in Arras, northern France, on Aug. 21, 2015.

The attacker was taken into custody as the train was stopped in Arras, about two hours northeast of Paris. He was being interviewed by French counter-terrorism officials Saturday, said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Cazeneuve said the attacker may be a 26-year-old Moroccan national who was flagged by Spanish authorities last year for links to Islamic extremist movements, but his identity was never confirmed.

A French actor, Jean-Hugues Anglade, suffered non-life threatening injuries in the attack, said Cazeneuve, who also thanked the Americans for their courage and cool nerves.

ABC News’ Mustafa Hameed and Rachel Katz contributed reporting.

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