Obama Personally Thanks Americans Who Foiled Train Attack
Spencer Stone, injured while stopping the shooter, is released from French hospital
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2015 4:20 PM CDT
Spencer Stone waves as he leaves a French police station Aug. 22 following his release from the hospital for stab wounds suffered while stopping an attack aboard a high-speed train in Belgium.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(Newser) – The three Americans credited with stopping a terrorist attack on a high-speed train yesterday in Belgium received a phone call from President Obama today thanking them for their heroism, the AP reports. Obama also received a grateful phone call today, with French President Francois Hollande thanking him for the "exemplary conduct of American citizens who stopped an extremely serious attack." The three Americans were identified earlier as Spencer Stone with the US Air Force, Aleksander Skarlatos with the Army National Guard, and college student Anthony Sadler. All three have been friends since childhood. "I came to see friends," the Los Angeles Times reports Sadler saying at a French news conference. "My first trip to Europe and we stopped a terrorist. It's kind of crazy."

But the Americans weren't the only ones who intervened. The AP reports British businessman Chris Norman was on his laptop when he heard the first shot. He said he was going to hide until he heard the Americans go on the attack, at which point he helped subdue and hogtie the gunman. "My thought was, OK, probably I'm going to die anyway," Norman said. "I'd rather die being active." Norman said the gunman was small but "put up quite a bit of a fight." Stone, who was hospitalized with a severe stab wound to his hand, waved to reporters as he was seen leaving a French hospital today. ABC News reports a Belgian official has identified the suspected shooter as 26-year-old Ayoub El Khazani. He reportedly had a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a 9mm pistol, and a box cutter.