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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 12, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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i climbed over the cantina to get over to the other side and there were two people that one could not move at all and one was delirious and i was trying to calm him down because he was bleeding and another guy was stuck behind one of those tables and could not move at all. >> how long before you saw any first responders? i'm trying to understand how long passengers were fending for himself and trying to help each other before there was any response. i imagine it felt like a very long time. >> it felt like a long time but people were trying to get out of the train and we got them out
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and i would say within eight or neen minutes, you know i was there and trying to you know once i realized i had a body count, made sure no one was behind anything and i said hey, i'm on this train. >> you said you were trying to keep track of the number of passengers you were sure on that train car that needed to be taken out, that needed help getting out? >> yeah. so when the first person here was one of the captains of the fire department. so when he came in he knew me. and he said congressman, are you okay? i said, i'm okay. we've got 11 bodies here and from this cart to the northern cafe cart. i said there's two that are
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really bad over there. this side is okay. and that's the one that was struggling to get in there and then a police officer a. highway patrol officer came in and, you know, i was kind of letting them know who was bad and who was not and even the woman who worked for amtrack, she was banged up pretty bad but she was there at the cantina. >> she was the cafe car attendant? she was trying to help people who were still hurt. >> i think my phone is going to die. >> congressman, we won't keep you on. i want you to have your last
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minutes so you can help get yourself out of where you are. thank you for helping us understand. >> thank you. >> thanks patrick murphy former congressman, remarkably from the area in which the train crash happened tonight, that remarkable anecdote that he just told in terms of having the first fire captain arrive. congressman murphy helping us to understand what is happening tonight. we're going to stay on this in terms of the basics what we know is 243 people were on board this train. you can see how mangled the train cars are. five amtrack crew among those 243 were told by philadelphia mayor michael nutter that there are at least five fatalities tonight. we're told there are six critical injuries. somewhere between 43 and 53
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people were medically transported. we've got a list of four or five people that have been taken to temple university hospital and philadelphia proper. beyond those people medically transported, a commander at the scene saying a number of other people should be considered walking wounded. there may end up being a very high casualty count for this incident. we'll continue our coverage now. >> rachel thank you. we're continuing our coverage of the breaking news out of philadelphia tonight. you can see that train number 188 has crashed. philadelphia mayor michael nutter reports he at least five people were killed in this crash. and he says he does not know how or why this crash happened.
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and in the air to please shine their lights on these this is being called a level three mass casualty event with more than 300 emergency personnel being called to that scene. >> you can see tracks right here as well. and you can see i also want to show you right around here some of these emergency workers in the area right now. they have been out here with flashlights. we have seen them for at least the past hour. just going up to each one of these train cars looking in looking in the windows and looking underneath.
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trying to see what they can see in terms of evidence if there are any other people who may be on board these trains. but you imagine how much force it took to get the train cars to derail. look at this right here. these right here, those are the reels from the train cars that look like they have completely separated from the train cars themselves. and you can see one car right on the top of your screen, another one off to the left completely on its side. you see a lot of the brush in the area that is just flattened as a result. and imagine what it must have been like to be on board this train, to be on these cars that overturned turned to their side and especially anybody who is on this car right here. that is the most damage that we have seen out here to this point. now, what we have been watching the news conference happen and
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we've been watching our other reporters gather information. i've been up here really watching everything that has been going on. one thing of note we were not exactly sure what is going on here but we saw some of the workers painting numbers on some of these train cars and so of course as the investigators are out here trying to figure out what was going on at the time of the crash, you can see them already getting to work marking the vehicles and trying to secure the area. you see a lot of the police tape that is up around this area as well as i'm drawing on the screen. you see another area right there. we saw them setting up a grid presumably to start searching in a very small area piece by piece to see if they can pick out any evidence at this hour of the night. as i mentioned a little bit earlier when i first started, that this is a very dark area.
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you do not have a lot of light. of course you don't have any natural light at this time of the evening. and there's not a lot of street light out here as well. you have police helicopters shining lights down there. you can see some of the emergency management workers and the philadelphia fire department out there with their vehicles shining lights onto the area that is really in focus right now. and that would really be this area right here. this is where the front of the car -- the front of the trean detached and looks like almost a distance of just i would make an estimation 50 to 100 feet and the cars went right into another track. also, another thing that we noticed up here it does appear to be fairly windy down there. we've seen a lot of the debris blowing around and even here around skyforce10 we're experiencing turbulence up here. it's interesting to see how
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these investigators are i going to try to keep the evidence in the areas where they need it especially at this point. it's a very critical point so soon after a crash like this to preserve the evidence where it is so that they can easily figure out what happened out here. right down here you see some workers out there with what looks like a camera taking pictures of one of the train cars and here's another thing i was mentioning one of the workers is going in and out of the cars and going underneath them just to make sure that there's no one still left in any of these cars. >> you have been listening to a local helicopter pilot trying to explain what is going on outside of philadelphia after a short while ago, a number 188 train,
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carrying 238 people and crashed and derailed. adam reece is joining us. as we were trying to make sense what was happening out there, there was no light at all. all we could see was the flashlights of the flood of the emergency responders out there. tell us what you know. >> reporter: i want to add to what we were hearing from the chopper pilot. right after the crash, you could tell that they were hampered by the fact that there was no light. there was literally over 200 police and fire responders on the scene, all of them using their flashlight. this is an area of philadelphia called port richmond. it's an area mostly townhouse and this is on the delaware river so there's no lights to assist them.
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for those tuning in now, five confirmed dead, six critical and 243 total on the train. that included amtrack passengers and they still don't know why this happened. the police officials and mayor nutter saying unbelievable what they saw down there. it was just devastating. they saw the engine separated from the rest of the train. the first three cars completely derailed. they had to use hydraulics to rescue some of the passengers. the good news is most passengers were able to self-evacuate. so that was very helpful. the train was from d.c. to new york. 188 to northeast regional. the front cars were the ones most severely affected including the club car. one woman who was on the train spoke to one of the local needmedia
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stations and she said she's a nurse and it was just chaos. there were people flying around there was luggage flying around. she was hit with a piece of baggage and she's a nurse and she felt like she had one of her lungs collapse. so in addition to these casualties that you have the five deaths there are going to be numerous injuries. we already know the federal railroad administration, the ntsb fbi, they are on their way to the scene. you can bet that they will be looking for the event reporters. those are the black boxes like you find on a train. this will give them information. how fast was the train going, did the brakes work when were they applied and so these are the things that they are going to look at as they try to determine what happened in this crash. we mentioned earlier there was a crash on sunday in new orleans, an amtrack train. so they are going to look into this and try to determine why
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there was such a violent derailment just outside philadelphia. milissa? >> we want to go back and listen to this helicopter from our local affiliate. >> making sure that the people who were injured are getting the proper treatment as necessary and just going at this one step at a time. but you do see a lot of train activity in this area in this one little section here in port richmond. >> all right. we understand that there are a lot of people that might be stranded tonight? >> reporter: yes. a lot of people are stranded tonight. northeast corridor on amtrack is completely suspended but new jersey transit is jumping in and is going to help out. they are going to -- if you have
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an amtrack ticket they will honor it and get you from penn station or metro park up and down the line that they can get you to. they will help you out. >> all right. this is the first car. you can see that the track is clearly bent mangled, actually. the front of the train, which you can't really see because it's so dark as we have been mentioning, light is a true issue out there tonight. there is not a lot of light around it. they have set up some floodlights. they are asking police helicopters and otherwise to shed lights on this. as you can see sort of at the head of this train, it is just mangled and you can see the damage to the tracks and you can also see that this one car and there are about seven or eight that derailed there are no
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other cars that are derailed in sight. this car has separated completely from the rest of them. as adam was mentioning just a while ago, we will not know maybe for a while, first of all, how and why this crash happened. the ntsb is sending a go team. that is just the beginning of their investigation. so we may not know for a while, a, how fast this train was going. especially at this point. it had just left the philly train station. we don't know how average it would be going at that point but how fast would a train need to be going to cause this kind of devastation in a derailment? let's go back to nick tufts and new york penn's station because another part of this tonight, nick, is that train service has been shut down in a very large and very busy area. >> reporter: yeah. as i was saying the entire northeast corner for amtrack is
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completely shut down. it seems like all over penn station, people are settling in for a trip. and they are offering to honor your ticket so they'll get you to newark penn station, princeton junction trenton, metro park. they are willing to let you kind of hop a ride with them if they can get you there. they just made that announcement. >> thank you very much. on the phone is larry mann who is described as a railroad expert. larry, can you hear me? >> i can. >> thank you for joining us. as i'm sure you understand, we have a lot of unanswered questions tonight and we may not have those answers for a while and i hate to ask you to speculate but if you can shed a little bit of light on this for us, i would appreciate it. >> sure. >> how could this possibly happen? what could be the most likely cause or causes? >> well congressman murphy
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indicated there was significant vibration and shaking right before the train derailed. so immediately it indicates to me that it was either track caused or there was a wheel failure. it's possible that speed had some play in this as well. we don't know about fatigue and operator may be too tired, one of the many reasons. but the two obvious reasons at the moment would be track defect or wheel failure. >> okay. now, let me ask you about those two things because, as i mentioned earlier, this is a very, very heavily traveled part corridor for amtrack because most people in washington who commute to philly and new york city a lot of people go back and forth along that route and prefer the train
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to flying because they find it more comfortable and, quite frankly, easier. so you can imagine that there's a lot of maintenance performed on tracks and wheels. can you give us an idea about what maintenance is like? >> oh well as to the train itself, they are supposed to get inspections prior to each trip. not a detailed inspection but a visual inspection. for example, if you're doing just a visual test of the train you may not see a slight crack in a wheel and as the train travels for a period of time it may get over heated. and therefore crack and cause a derailment. also, as to the track itself the fact that there are a lot of
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trean trains traveling over it, it could be hitting a certain location and causing that track to get further and further problem which resulted in a derailment unfortunately. i'm sure the ntsb will be focusing on the track or possible wheel failure. >> you mentioned the possibility -- and obviously we do not know if this is at all true or possible at this moment but you did mention fatigue and we have heard of this before in train accidents. in your opinion -- >> it's one of the main causes of train accidents across the country. >> more than anything else? >> well, the causes of accidents leave a lot to be discussed because the railroads themselves make the determination under the federal regulations as to what
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caused an accident. so a railroad can place whatever it feels may be the cause and fatigue is rarely used as the cause of an accident by the railroads but we know because of many studies and accidents that were investigated by the ntsb that fatigue is a major source of rail collisions and even derailments. >> well, we will certainly know more down the road. the ntsb as i mentioned, is on the way. larry, please stick with us. you are a wealth of information on a night that we don't have a lot of answers. for now, let's listen in to reporter keith jones from the nbc station in philadelphia. he's giving a report. >> we have a couple of pictures that we want to share. >> my apologies. i don't have that yet. larry, are you still there? >> i am. >> okay. if you can answer this or at least give us an idea, one of my
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major questions is of course we don't know what went wrong yet but on a route like this having just left the philadelphia train station, the major station there, the next major station would be new york city. it is a regional train. how fast on average, would it be going and just from the look of things, just looking at them on the screen and seeing this kind of damage -- okay. i'm sorry. we have keith back. larry, hold on. let's listen to our local reporter right now. >> firefighters have said that this is bad. residents can also be seen on the corner. if you pan up a little bit, you can see them. they've been gathered here all day. it's a different scene, though than when we first arrived. we were the first crew here because it was just chaos, we were able to walk all the way down to the mobile command unit. some firefighters and officials there are up on the rooftop. don't know what they are doing but they have been trying to secure a better vantage point of
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what they are seeing. a lot of lights have been brought in. when we first got to this scene, we saw passengers about deep bruises, with cuts broken arms and legs countless stretchers and ambulances. here's what some of the passengers we talked to said about the moment of impact when the train derailed. >> we are listening to local coverage in philadelphia about the amtrack crash that happened just a couple of hours ago. the local northeast regional train number 188 on its way from washington, d.c., to new york city derailed just outside of philadelphia after stopping at the philly main station. it was on its way to new york city's penn station and then onward and upward. the northeast corridor is now shut down to the thousands and thousands of passengers that use amtrack. we were told 238 passengers and 5 crew member were on board at
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the time. now let's listen in. >> i assure you, this is just the beginning of this investigation. they have just begun here. the lights have been brought in. the derailed cars are in a wooded area about 100 feet from where you can see right now. they are gathered up there, as are residents curious as to what the latest numbers are. five people have passed away. six in critical condition up to this point. they are making countless sweeps of this train corridor to make sure they haven't missed anyone. for now, we're live port richmond, keith jones nbc news. >> we're approaching the third hour senseince the train derailment. >> okay that. is wcau our local affiliate in philadelphia. we understand this was a
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four-alarm response. the fire department is in command. it's called a level 3 mass casualty incident. 238 passengers on board. six people are said to be in critical condition. at least we're told five fatalities so far. about 53 people were taken to the hospital. many are described as walking wounded and we can be thankful for that. let's go back to larry mann. you're a railroad expert and i was just about to say how fast do you think this train could have been going given the damage that we're seeing tonight? >> well because it had just left the station only a few minutes apparently and going through a metropolitan area the train is not going full speed. it's going probably -- this is just a guess. probably 25 to 35 miles an hour. >> i'm sorry. could you repeat that? do you think this train was just going 25 to 35 miles an hour?
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i want to show everybody a picture. there is a train that is literally bent in half. >> see, you -- that brings to my attention a study conducted by the railroad association as a result of a side collision with a truck out in arizona, as i recall. and the study demonstrated that the side impacts on amtrack cars shows that it cannot withstand any kind of direct impact. so what we have here is from being looking at your tv screen another car must have struck the side of this car or -- that's the only explanation i can think
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of at the moment. unless it hit some kind of barrier and then crumbled. of course we know these are pretty heavy cars. it's not like the regular commuter trains which is lightweight cars. but these types of cars on amtrack have been shown to be a safety problem when there's a side impact. >> i've got to ask, you said 25 to 35 miles per hour. that just doesn't sound very fast to me. so if that has been proven has there been any measures to correct this problem in these train cars? because to me that sounds like a problem. >> well, the problem is congress. congress is reluctant to fund amtrack to meet its needs for upgrading its fleet. and this is a constant battle
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actually, and one that is going on currently in congress. each session of congress there's a battle of whether to even do away with amtrack or a contract out to private carriers to perform passenger service. unless amtrack gets adequate funding, these problems will continue to be a major source of safety issues. >> i was reading earlier just trying to gather myself some information and i can't even remember where i saw it now, so please forgive me but i read somewhere, i think the average age of these cars is 23. is that right? >> oh sure. these cars -- >> or older? >> yes. they were constructed in the '70s. yes. the answer to that these are old cars. >> and so -- and what do you -- >> all the new equipment in the
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northeast corridor is stella trains and cars. >> can you tell us what is different in the trains and cars compared to these that have been developed since 1970? >> the newer construction has steel frames at either end of the cars heavier steel and the -- they also have this crash resistance-type cars available where if there's an impact. >> okay. i'm going to have to end -- i want to hear the rest of that but we have to interrupt you, larry mann just for a second because we want to listen back in to wcau in philadelphia. >> there are some businesses around here there's a warehouse but for the most part and to get to this live shot we had to go through a residential building this is a neighborhood. i mean a lot of these residents
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we talked to they heard a loud bang, one that they are not accustomed to hearing. they hear the train constantly. this was something that they were not accustomed to. that's why you still see them out here on this scene. as far as family members are concerned, the people that were on the train that knew someone on the train, they were the ones that were trying to connect at one of the two triage centers that they had set up the authorities did, beyond this point what we're seeing right now on this live shot you know they were trying to get together that way. i can't say that i saw many family members from the philly area or delaware area come out here to try to find their fellow passengers. >> on these evening trains from washington to new york it's often that many of these people are doing business who maybe were in washington for the day, they had meetings and then they get on those night trains to get back to new york if that's where they are from or they are
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heading to washington from new york at night. i've ridden that train many times and it's often filled with people who have you know had a long day of work and they are either heading home to start business in the morning. there are many other people who ride the amtrack rails for whatever reason. but in my experience on those trains at night, it's often people who were doing business of some sort. >> working during the day. >> yeah. >> keith jones live in port richmond on the scene where we've seen many rescue personnel. we know triages were set up. numerous people were taken to the hospital, 120 firefighters responding to this mass casualty. the ntsb is investigating. >> while we're listening in i want to go back to larry mann. we lost him, is that right? >> i'm still here. we're expecting to be joined --
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larry, are you there? >> yes. okay. thank you. before i interrupted you, you were telling us about the new construction in cars compared to the new we are cars that you guesstimate are at least 20 years old or more? >> yes. this is old equipment. amtrack has replaced some cars over the years but not enough to have the top quality cars that could resist derailments. just one example of the newer cars they have steel posts at the front of the cars so it could withstand a collision and
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steel to help subpoena collision and side collision as well as the head-on collision. but congress has not appropriated enough funds to let amtrack support itself. >> out of curiosity, one of the things that we've been talking about tonight are the fact that there are no seat belts on these trains. they've got high ceilings they have open luggage racks and from what we heard earlier, people were literally flying around the cars that tipped over, they were climbing up the side that was once the roof. out of curiosity, there has to be some reason but what is the reason why there are no seat belts and would they have helped tonight? >> well, this is an ongoing issue with passenger rail whether or not seat belts should be installed on all trains.
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it's a costly item. and amtrack doesn't really have the funds. and they've, over the years, have determined that people are not going to be thrown from a rail car in an accident and -- >> larry, once again, my apologies, i do have to interrupt you. i just want to bring everybody up to speed who is just joining us. we are continuing coverage our coverage of the derailment of amtrack number 188 which derailed, eight to seven cars of it just outside of philly a couple of hours ago. six people are critical 53 people have been transported to local hospitals. we know so far at least five people have died in this accident. joining us now is philadelphia mayor michael nutter on the
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telephone. are you there? >> yes. can you hear me? >> thank you for taking the time to talk to us on this horrible night. we understand that you are on the scene. we heard your press conference earlier. i heard you describe this as an absolute disastrous mess. >> yes. other people have said -- amtrack personnel have said they've never seen anything like this before. seven total cars the engine and the other six cars the engine separated from the other side. it's about 50 60 feet ahead of the rest of the cars. one is basically broken in half and mangled. others are turned upside down and others on its side. it is just -- you know the destruction of the infrastructure but more importantly, five individuals confirmed deceased and the
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investigation continues. we're trying to obviously match up the manifest from the train. what we think was on the train to the individuals who came off the train. the overwhelming majority of the people walked off this train miraculously. 55 people were transported to our hospitals here. six of whom were in various stages of critical condition. the others you know bumps, bruises and other injuries but more than likely not life threatening. the scene on the tracks, i was on the tracks. i saw every car and the rest of the infrastructure. unbelievable what happened. and we don't know what happened. which makes it that much more perplexing. we don't understand how there was a separation of vehicles. we don't understand how one of the cars was almost cut in half.
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and turned upside down and spun around. it's just incredible. >> we were listening to the news conference earlier when your fire chief i believe it was, described special operations fire rescue using hydraulic tools. >> yes. >> to cut some passengers out of this. >> yes to cut through some of the cars the metal. i don't know what they are made of but obviously some kind of metal. they had to cut through some of the cars to get to some of the passengers. the special operations unit has, you know specialized equipment for these kinds of situations and literally cut through some of the cars to get to people. >> were they able to save lives that way? >> there's no question that they saved lives here today. this was a four-alarm fire command that put 33 apparatus in service. 120 fire personnel and level 3
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mass disaster category which put 18 medic units in service automatically which activated some others. we moved a lot of personnel onto the scene in rapid order and most of those personnel are still on the scene as the investigation continues. we're anticipating the ntsb to be here in philadelphia. they have been activated and we need cranes and other equipment that's also been activated, waiting for them. they cannot move the cars until ntsb is on the scene because they will ultimately take over. >> right. when you were talking about the fire department having to cut people out of the mangled wreckage, did they need to be cut out because they were trapped and they were transported to the hospital? were these people who were just trapped because they simply had no other way to get out? are these the most critical or
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are these -- >> without getting in too specific of a graphic, pretty much both. again, we have a car turned upside down and people are disoriented. they have been banged around and for some situations it was more difficult for the firefighters to try to get to them you know through the normal car doors and other entrances and if you see the person and can cut through the metal of the car to get through them it's more efficient and easier to do that than to try to access from you know, either end of a car that's turned upside down or sitting on its side. >> understood. mayor nutter as far as we stand right now, how many people are out there as far as responders who are they from different agencies and -- >> can you ask me that question again? >> as far as we understand right
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now, can you tell us who, as far as first responders are out there, how many and what you expect to happen between now and when the ntsb gets out there at morning light? >> well i can give you the numbers that i have at kind of height of the incident. 120 fire personnel, that's firefighters and ems personnel. 33 pieces of equipment. 200 police officers along with septa, our mass transit agencies regional transportation agency rather amtrack, department of homeland security state police all on the scene. so there are hundreds of people out here and, of course our command center on the ground where we're coordinating all of our operations. we activated our emergency operation center the hospitals have personnel. we are trying to match up the
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manifest from amtrack compared to people transported up to the hospitals, again, to try to make sure that we've accounted for everyone that we possibly can. >> philadelphia mayor michael nutter thank you very much. >> thank you. >> joining me now is msnbc reporter george spencer at temple university hospital. what is the latest that you can tell us? >> reporter: this is -- thanks for having me. this is north philadelphia hospital, a pretty urban hospital where more than two dozen of the victims, the survivors of this amtrack train crash have been brought tonight. we've been here since about 10:00, rushed here shortly after the derailment happened and i think the most interesting thing that we have watched, from our vantage point on the ground was the number of philadelphia police vans that showed up here with injured passengers from the amtrack train piled in the back
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of a police van. these victims didn't show up at the hospital in many cases, in traditional ambulances. they were piled up often three, four, five people in there and we watched them unload here right into wheelchairs and stretchers to be rushed into the emergency room for treatment. it gives you a sense of the urgency that first responders had getting many of these victims away from the actual crash scene to this hospital where we are just a couple of miles away in north philadelphia they weren't waiting for ambulances for every person to be carried individually. they were crammed in the back of these vans and rushed here as a group. to be treated as quickly as possible. >> george, i want to point out -- because what we're looking at on our screen right now, to everybody watching on the right, we are seeing some of that response. we're seeing people taken away two ambulances on stretchers. two point out to our viewers, if we can have it again i'd like to
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show it outside the hospital where you are, if you look in the distance we see people standing by empty stretchers and as if it's like one of the medical dramas that you see on tv a thousand times over. you see hospital staff waiting with empty gurneys waiting for people to come. >> well it really is just that powerful. you may actually be looking at the live picture from our camera. i'm not sure. but i know the image you're talking about. >> it is. yes, it is. >> to compare it to a medical drama is not far-fetched based upon what i've seen even from the distance they keep us you've got a sense of the team work and also a sense of the urgency that these e.r. doctors were responding to this crisis.
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and as you were saying and as we've been reporting, we know the secondary search is continuing now at the crash site and so here at the emergency room, there are a number of people, a number of stretchers and wheelchairs that are still even now at the ready for additional victims. they have this entire stretch of germantown avenue in north philadelphia still shut down in case additional ambulances roll-up here bringing more victims from the crash site. >> have you been able to speak to any hospital personnel about how they were prepared for this and all of that? >> not directly. hospital personnel, obviously, telling us mostly it's just the number of victims that they have here which is more than two dozen. but i can tell you, what i have witnessed with my own eyes at temple university hospital this
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looked like an orchestra playing together very well. the amount of teamwork that we were witnessing, multiple victims showing up in vans together you had e.r. doctors and nurses lined up behind each other to pull people out of these vans onto stretchers and wheelchairs. now we're seeing a number of family members showing up here trying to reunite with their loved ones. >> and have they had any luck that you can tell? >> you know they are having a little bit of difficulty knowing exactly where to go so they are coming to the e.r. entrance which is not where they should be. i spoke to one man who told me my son was on the train and he said he called me from inside temple er and told me to come here. you know he said i'm going to be fine but i need your support. you know i need you here with
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me at this time. and so this older man was here looking for his son. i found him when he was actually headed to the waiting room where a number of these victims' families are waiting while their loved ones receive the care they need in the e.r. >> oh they must be terrified. george thank you very much. >> yes. >> joining us now is sally, a producer for msnbc, in philadelphia right now. thank you for being with us. what is it like -- where are you, first of all, and what is it like where you are? >> hi, milissa. i was on an amtrack train from d.c. to new york i believe just one behind the train that crashed and we were told when we got to wilmington that the train would not be going any further than philadelphia so we had about another 20-minute ride from wilmington to 230th street
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station in philadelphia. >> and you don't know why? >> and everybody was asked to get off the train in philadelphia and it was pretty heck tim up here on the main level at 30th street station about an hour and a half ago when we first got off the train. there were amtrack workers, not very many of them because it was late when we got here saying that there wouldn't be -- >> sally, i have to interrupt you for a moment please. we have to go live to our affiliate wcau. >> reporter: the scene is about 100 feet beyond what you can see in a wooded area off this neighborhood here at port richmond and that's where the real work is taking place. that's where debris is scattered everywhere, according to firefighters we spoke to. they said it's a really bad scene, one they've never seen before. back here at the mobile command center, what you see are ambulances firefighters they are drinking water, there are coolers set up here philadelphia police officers are
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securing the scene behind us. they are securing the scene in front of us as well. and there are also paramedics around. you can see them there to the left in front of the ambulance where those coolers also are because, again, what they are doing is trying to see if anybody else is on board this train. if we pan over to the left just to where those lights are all set up you can see some people right there, they are checking out and surveying exactly what might have happened because, again, this is just the beginning of this investigation. the preliminary information we heard that over and over from the mayor, is that they don't know how this thing happened. they don't know why this thing happened and so the ntsb is out here. a representative from amtrack is out here as well. they are going to begin to figure out and put together the pieces and try to find out why five people died and six are critically injured as a result of these seven train cars that just derailed out here in port richmond. residents we talked to so far
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say it was a loud bang that is happened to suddenly. these are people used to living nearby train tracks. so jim, jacqueline up to this point we're right up against this mobile command center. they are hard at work. you can see people coming back and forth. perhaps relieving each other just because there are hundreds of officers out here. you can see some of them wearing those yellow vests. the right hard hats out here in specific capacity trying to aid this investigation. >> and it's going to be a long night for those rescue workers out there at the scene, keith. now more than three hours since the derailment and where you are i expect you probably will start to see members of the ntsb maybe in the morning before they arrive but as we see in these kinds of crashes, the ntsb national transportation board, has a go team ready to go and they head to the scene to start to gather facts on the ground and they appoint one member of the team to be a spokesperson
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who will talk to the news media to update us and maybe we'll get a preliminary report in the morning. >> keith we were looking at some people to the right and also to the right we see what locks like a warehouse. were those residents there, are they curious onlookers? i know you mentioned residents that heard that loud boom. is it mixed business andress residential in that proximity? >> reporter: that's right. what you're seeing here is mostly industrial. if you could picture it behind us there are blocks and blocks of neighborhoods, row houses all these people were startled. you could hear this thing from hundreds of feet away at least two blocks away as a matter of fact, because that's where most people ended up coming from. they were gathered here trying
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to get information themselves. the news conference took place one or two blocks behind us. they are not up to date about what happened. they are talking to police themselves because they are curious about what happened with the gigantic bang. they were on scene here, some of them at least, when this mobile command center was home to triage centers. we heard they were talking about 43 people treated for their injury, some of them just minor cuts bruises, and others that had these dazed looks on their faces. they were heavily bandaged up. some of them needed oxygen. it was a humbling scene, something i have never seen before, in my life to be honest with you. but firefighters and paramedics running everywhere trying to assist people and just when you thought it was bad, it only got worse because more and more victims came out of that area. you can't see beyond that point where the train cars actually
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are. the firefighters and paramedics bringing more people on stretchers to those triage centers that is now the mobile command center. >> keith, i know that you've been -- >> that is listening to wcau our local affiliate in philadelphia covering this local disaster national disaster of the amtrack train that derailed about three hours ago. at this point, just outside of philadelphia. let's listen to part of the emergency press conference that happened just a few minutes ago. >> at about 9:38 fire department responded. we immediately struck the second alarm and it was a mass casualty event. at 9:45 we struck out the third alarm and at 10:24 we struck the third aharm. that brings 33 apparatus and 122 personnel. it is a level three mass
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casualty incident which means that 18 medic units were brought on scene. we have a total of six critical transports to area hospitals including temple university einstein and hahnemann. >> that was an emergency press conference a short while ago. you can see mayor nutter in the background right there saying this is an absolute disastrous mess. joining me now is a staff writer at an elementary school that is being used as a staging area to get people to the hospital. vinnie, thank you for joining us. tell us about the scene there. >> sure. well, it's actually a little bit more quiet than it had been previously. right there there are people waiting to be taken into the ambulance and taken to nearby hospitals. it's a stark contrast from what we saw earlier when there were a
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lot of people just sort of waiting to find out what was going on and where they were supposed to go. and it's the aftermath of what happened earlier. >> this is the staging area for relatives? >> no it's for people injured in the crash but don't need immediate care. >> putting together a manifest to find out exactly who was on this train, as you know, our viewers now know this is a train that is regional and makes many stops. people get on and off. >> correct. >> at this point in time we don't really know who was left on the train and how many and, therefore, not everybody is necessarily accounted for. people are still out there searching and hospitals are ready and you are in one of those staging areas that you say is quiet. >> correct. yeah. i think a lot of people -- there are people at hospitals now. these are just some of the people who are left behind and still waiting to coordinate i imagine.
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there's not a lot of activity here but there was previously about 10, 15 minutes ago. there were ambulances loading people up on stretchers people not previously injured, bumps and bruises, some people in wheelchairs and they were being taken to the hospital. right now these are people catching their breath and waiting to see if they need care and, if so where they are going to go for it. >> have you been able to speak to any of them about their experience? >> i have spoke with a few of them. coincidentally most of them were from new jersey. they were all headed home. as you said, this is a regional train that run as good portion of the eastern coast. east coast excuse me. and one passenger from northern jersey told me everything was fine. there was no sign of any problems until the stop right before philadelphia and then he said things got bumpy and next thing he knew he was being flung
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throughout the car. and it was just chaos. cars tumbled multiple times. the first car was damaged the most, from what witnesses have told me, it flipped several times. the second car flipped at least once and the cars after that were still thrown off the track but not as severely. >> the people that you've been able to speak to i can't even imagine, it must be traumatizing. they must have been in shocked. did they seem dazed confused? >> to their credit, no. they were thankful that they walked away and were not more seriously hurt. they seemed to be coherent. they were mostly thankful i think, than anything else and grateful that they were not more seriously hurt. >> now, if they do not have to go to the hospital if that's what is decided for the people lingering there, have you heard any kind of a plan for people stranded far away from home? >> i haven't, no.
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i don't want to speculate but the first responders i think have done a great job in making people that that need care have received it. i haven't seen anybody standing around saying what do i do? what do i do? everybody is getting what they need. >> can i ask you, who do you understand is staffing that staging center in is it the fire department or hospital or -- >> it's the fire department medics and some police officials that are here and they are making sure that everybody is safe. >> okay. thank you very much for being here with us. >> not a problem. >> and bringing that news to us. >> i want to recap here we are continuing to follow breaking news from about three hours ago. an amtrack regional northeastern train number 188 derailed. we're told seven to eight cars went off the tracks. we don't know why. we don't know how. we do not know what caused this but we understand that about 238 people were on board. at this point, we know that five people died in this derailment.
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we know that sectionix people were taken to the hospital in critical condition. we know that 53 people were brought to the hospital. they are considered walking wounded. the ntsb is going to arrive tomorrow morning and that they will take over this investigation. but as you can see, it's a dark night outside of philadelphia as workers try to piece this whole thing together chlth. let's go back to larry mann a train expert. just to recap, what are the possibilities of what might have happened here tonight? >> well because of the reports of vibration and heavy shaking just prior to the derailment the two things that jump into my mind anyway one would be a track defect and, secondly it would be a wheel failure. a we'll that would actually crack and cause a derailment. of course speed could be one of
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the major causes as well. we have a curve and until they get the event recorder analyzed we will not know what the speed of the train was. underlying all of this is fatigue. this has been a major concern for congress the ntsb and certainly the workers. they are not able to get sufficient rest throughout their workweek. those are the meajajor areas that i think will looked upon by ntsb and will probably know by tomorrow whether there was a track defect or a wheel failure. that is something they will be able to determine almost immediately. >> all right. larry mann thank you very much.
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we can now say that it is estimated that seven people may have died in this accident. we understand that there are patients in every single hospital in philadelphia. this is amtrack train 188 that was on its way about three hours ago from washington, d.c., to new york's penn station. it was just outside of philadelphia. for reasons unknown, it left the tracks. you are looking at the aftermath with ambulances. it was a huge response. but it was a response in the dark earlier. when we first saw this we were trying to make out what had happened and you could barely see a thing. the first light we saw on the scene were the flashlights of all of the emergency responders. we are told that this has been called a level 3 mass casualty incident which means about 33 agencies responded to this. we do know that about 238 people were on board this train. we don't know that for sure because they were trying to put
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together the manifest from all of the different places that this train stopped. well once again, we do know that there are patients in every single hospital now in philadelphia. the ntsb is sending a sending a go team. it is on its way. it will be there tomorrow morning. we know as many as seven people may be dead at this time. my colleague takes over from here. >> thank you. we do want to continue with our breaking news coverage of the deadly train derailment north of philadelphia. at this hour exact details, they're still murky for a few reasons which we'll get into. here's what we know for sure. it is a level three mass casualty event. five people are dead. that was confirmed by mayor michael nutter. six are in critical condition with 53 in noncritical condition. there were 243 people on board. five of whom were amtrak employees. parts of amtrak regional 188 are on their side. the video is quite starting when you look at it. one is upside down. one nearly spl