Latest News: Feds confirm train was traveling at excessive speed

 

UPDATED at 1:50 p.m. 

SEPTA's Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel has said he expects the SEPTA Trenton line will be down for seven days

UPDATED at 12:40 p.m. 

A seventh person has been found dead in the aftermath of the Amtrak train derailment on Tuesday night. 

Philadelphia Fire Department Executive Chief Clifford Gilliam says the body was found Wednesday as crews combed through the mangled train.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will provide an update at 2:15 p.m. at the site of the crash. 

Among the confirmed dead are a Navy midshipman and an Associated Press staffer

Both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have released statements. 

"Along the Northeast Corridor, this is a tragedy that affects us all," said Obama, in a release from the White House. "Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love — a city of neighborhoods and neighbors — and that spirit of loving-kindness was reaffirmed last night as hundreds of first responders and passengers lent a hand to their fellow human being." 

Biden, who frequently rode Amtrak from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Delaware when he was Senator said he was "deeply saddened." 

"I've come to know the conductors, engineers, and other regulars — men and women riding home to kiss their kids good night," he said in a statement.

UPDATED at 11:15 a.m.

State and city flags are at half-staff in the aftermath of Tuesday night's Amtrak train derailment. Some train passengers remain unaccounted for, according to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

At a morning press conference near the scene of the crash Nutter said there remain many unknowns. The black box from the train has been recovered and is currently at the Amtrak operations office in Delaware being analyzed for information. 

"There are some things we know now, there are many things we do not know at this time. We will not speculate on any of those things," he said.

Samantha Phillips, director of the Emergency Management for the City of Philadelphia said over 200 patients have been checked into city hospitals. She added that any friends and family looking for loved ones can call the Amtrak hotline at 1-800-523-9101. Train passengers who are doing well are also requested to call that line to confirm their status.

Family and friends looking for Philly-based passengers can go to Webster School located at 3400 Frankford Ave. Amtrak is expected to set up a response center at a Center City hotel. 

Local Philadelphia company ApprenNet confirmed its CEO, Rachel Jacobs, is missing. 

Amtrak trains between New York and Philadelphia are not running. The remainder of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains are running with severe delays. SEPTA's Trenton Regional Rail line is also shut down and could remain shut through the rest of the work week. 

New Jersey Transit is honoring Amtrak tickets between New York and Philadelphia. NJ Transit is also bussing commuters from Cherry Hill, New Jersey into Philadelphia. 

The Red Cross has about 30 volunteers set up in the south wing of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Red Cross spokeswoman Janice Winston said the aid organization has helped about 75 survivors as they came to the station throughout the night. Some had been treated and released from city hospitals.

The group is providing food, water, doughnuts and emotional care to survivors as well as working with Amtrak to provide survivors with a way to get home via buses.

Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators began arriving to Philadelphia between 4 and 5 a.m. this morning. NTSB will be taking a "multi-disciplinary" approach to investigating the scene including looking at the track, train signals, the operation of the train and human performance, according to Sumwalt.

According to officials, the train engineer and the conductor both survived the crash and are being interviewed. 

"On behalf on a million and a half people here in Philadelphia we express our deepest sorrows," said Nutter. "We are heartbroken. We have not experienced anything like this in modern times."

No further information about the six passengers who died has been released.

UPDATED at 9:45 a.m.

The cause of the Amtrak crash that killed at least six passengers remained no clearer this morning as morning commuters struggled to make their way north with train service out of Philadelphia's 30th  Street Station.

Heavy machinery including cranes have been brought in to the crash site as National Transportation Safety Board investigators begin their investigation to determine what caused the derailment.

Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters the northbound train #188, headed for New York, derailed about 9:30 p.m., toppling cars and leaving at least one destroyed.

More than 140 were taken to area hospitals, officials said. Temple University Hospital's Dr. Herbert Cushing says most of the injured sustained fractures.

In the early morning hours, Mayor Michael Nutter briefed reporters on the crash saying that the train came off the tracks near a curve but would not draw any conclusions as to why the incident happened.

"There is a curve. We have no idea what kind of speed we're talking about, what else happened out there, and I'm not going to speculate on it," Nutter said.

Nutter, who confirmed five of the deaths, said the scene was horrific.

"It is an absolute disastrous mess," Nutter said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Cushing confirmed the sixth death on Wednesday morning. A person died there overnight from a chest injury

Gov. Tom Wolf says the state is available to do whatever is necessary to assist.

"I really am here in support of the city of Philadelphia and the mayor just to let him know and everyone here that anything the state can do to help, we stand ready to do that."

Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy was aboard the Amtrak train on his way home to Bucks County when it crashed last night.

Murphy remembers the train dropping people off in Philly and then making its way to the next stop, which is where he planned to depart. The train never made it.

"You know, all of a sudden I felt these violent vibrations and then the car went immediately to the left and then violently went to the right, and everyone from the left side where I was sitting just flew over to the other side. I mean, I was head-first toward the other side of the car."

Murphy, an Army veteran, says he helped several people out of the train until emergency responders arrived.

Murphy shared pictures from the crash almost immediately after it happened. 

Murphy was uninjured, and helped others escape from the train. Passengers, eyewitnesses and reporters who arrived on the scene used social media sites like Instagram and Periscope to share images and live video from the crash site, showing bloodied "walking wounded" patients, flipped-over train parts and a jagged line of jackknifed cars.  

"The cars are now resting in a freight train yard that is filled with tanker trains," MacDonald said.

Apparently the train cars derailed from elevated tracks in the area and came to rest in the rail yard below.

Many of the trains are lying on their sides; crews work to cut through the wreckage, he said.

In a statement, Gov. Tom Wolf called the crash "devastating," and said he is closely monitoring the situation.  

UPDATED at 10:52 p.m. 

Amtrak says on Twitter that the train was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City on Tuesday night when it derailed in the Port Richmond neighborhood.

Amtrak provided no other immediate details on the crash of Train No. 188.

Philadelphia police are asking people to stay away from the crash scene so first responders have room to work.

Roads in the area are blocked off. Dozens of police and fire vehicles have responded to the crash.

Train 188 was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City on Tuesday night when it crashed, the Associated Press reports.

The front of the train was going into a turn when it shook.


Tom MacDonald, Emma Lee, Steve Trader, The Associated Press and NBC10 contributed to this ongoing coverage