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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 13, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

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it is 11:00 p.m. on the east coast. our breaking news tonight here in philadelphia investigators urgently searching for answers. why did amtrak 188 crash killing at least seven people injuring more than 200 people? the ntsb says the t was going 106 miles per hour more than twice the speed limit.
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and they say the engineer is brandon bastion. they attempted to interview him but all he said was he doesn't know how fast he was going. first i'm going to get to brian todd because they're deep in the removal of these cars and you have a close up view. what can you tell us? >> reporter: dorngsn, a few 00 yards behind me we can see these massive cars being placed on flat beds to get them out of here. we're told they will be taken to secure ntsb facility saidies. they will be working through the night to remove some of these cars. and they'll be working to relay some of the track this soon after the accident so you can see the hard work going on
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behind me and of course with our aerial shots of the removal of these cars. you said don, a moment ago, what the crucial part of this investigation has found so far, that speed was a crucial factor in this crash. investigators telling us that the train was going 106 mile-per-hour, it should have been going only 50 miles per hour at that curve. they're investigating everything but speed is a crucial factor and the engineer identified as brandon bastion, has not yet been interviewed. he had a lawyer with him and didn't want to answer the questions. the ntsb says he is injured and want to give him time to heal from his injuries. another thing we're told don, about this situation, what about the ntsb has found is that
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there's a system called positive train control and they say that was not in place in this section of the track. it's a default override and designed to warn the engineer when the train is going to rr fast. and the computers will kick in. congress has mandated that this be out fitted all trains. if it had been in place, this may very well not have happened. >> thank you very much. let's go in detail about some of the things brian todd was talking bute. and our investigator reporter is here drew griffin. start from the top. >> really it all hinges right now on a couple of things.
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one, they have what we call the black box, an event recorder they have the front end camera, which will record what was happening at the front of the train and then they have the person operating the train and as brian said that is this fella, brandon bastion who hasn't talked. he was the engineer he was injured and was being treated when police asked him questions, he said he couldn't reremember couldn't recall what happened and then there was going to be another interview today. when he came in for the interview, he had an attorney with him and the attorney was obviously advising him don't say anything because we don't know the landscape of where this investigation is going.
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when he talks, he will talk to the ntsb they will debrief him in detail about everything that took place on that train. >> so you're saying don't get ahead of us -- >> look, everything is saying speed is the problem and the engineer controlled the speed. but put yourself in his position this is a bad accident we have people dead and he's ultimately responsible. he's the captain of the ship, so to go in willy nilly and not realize is this part of the ntsb investigation, which is about safety or is this philadelphia police or whom ever which is about prosecuting me it's wise to be cautious even though we all want answers quickly. >> the removal of these train
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cars in philadelphia really an unbelievable job that they're doing here. it's really a rescue and recovery mode right now and the investigation is in full swing and that's what i'm talking to our investigative reporter drew griffin about. if he was distracted what might he have been distracted by, so they asked for his phone. >> they have a search warrant for the phone. and we were told that it was voluntarily handed ore over. they're not supposed to have that phone in there, all right. but there might be other information before or after the accident which leads to some sort of distraction, even something he may have been thinking about and they'll also look at his blood and see if he has anything in his system was
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he sleeping? so all of these things will be part of the investigation. >> and the black box is in delaware already? >> that's what we understand. >> appreciate you joining us. joining me now etau thank you. what a trip it was. it's hard to relive this but take us through. >> it is my second trip. i was heading from washington d.c. to trenton and we just heading from philadelphia train station and i was setting my alarm, you know i don't want to sleep away my next station, trenton and then on my phone it was around 910:00 and after that 9:15 i feel some shaking,
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the lights are going down they are just flashing sometimes, and it was lifted sometimes full down and after that it was not going -- it was going. and people were screaming. i was lifted up all these forces i was rolling, and things are falling on my head and my arm. i was hit by flying seat and other people and then when we stop it became to be a lot of smoke in the wagon and there was no light. some sparkles was there, aioyou know maybe because of electricity, and then i realize, i have to break the window you know and then we start to get
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out people from the train, from the wagon and then after that someone helped to open the door also from the train and it was so high we have to take down people from there and that was it. it has happened maybe only in five seconds, or i don't know. >> so it was very quick? >> yes. >> and you believe there were issues from the get go with this. what do you mean by that? >> sorry? >> there were issues from the get go. there were problems with the train from the very beginning. >> yes. before we heading from washington they just told us that the air condition is not working properly because of less power and they mention it a
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couple of times and they told us that they will recover it somehow but after that we had air condition and that was it. >> listen you are european and i know there are issues in this country when it comes to funding our rail system here. in europe they're high speed trains all over very well funded. what do you think of the difference here? >> it was first time to using amtrak you know. i used in france and i don't know about the speed limits,ia know. but today, i heard also that it happens in a place where the speed has to be double less and i just don't know how that would be. so i think less speed, less problems.
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>> yeah. ede, thank you. >> thank you. >> there are amazing stories, really survival stories that are just unbelievable. but what was the cause? and are we as safe on trains as we think we are? and joining us is author of the warnings doctor. when you see this train wreckage as we look at these live pictures right now, they're removing a lot of it what does that tell you? >> first of all, don, we know this was a perfect storm of an ant quated instrustructure and we have a possibility of human error and we don't have the technology installed -- if you think about it over 100 years ago, they had better warning systems, flag men, eyes on the train signaling if they were
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going too fast. they had dead man switches on the train and all this discussion about a positive train control, this is actually a warning system through a series of transponders that would communicate about two to three miles apart to a receiver on the locomotive if the information being communitycated to the train if they were going too fast for instance 106 in a 50 mile-per-hour zone, then a buzzer would go off, alerting the engineer and he would take action and if he didn't then the computers on board, would actually slow it down, so you would have an audible warning system. the irony is that this act that they passed of 2008 that was
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passed seven years ago. i think it's outrageous from a warnings standpoint that it's taken seven years and the northeast corridor which accounts for about a 1/3 of all the traffic in the northeast united states 200,000 commuter trains a day and they don't have this system in the northeast coredore completed yet. their own report says it wouldn't come about until about two years from now, which would make it nine years from the time that congress passed it. >> speed, definitely a factor here. 106 mile-per-hour, into a left turn where the maximum speed was 50 miles per hour. would that engineer have to know how fast he was going? do you think he knew? did he just lose control here? >> it's very likely he knew but i wouldn't want to get ahead of
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the investigators who will be talking to him, probably tomorrow. however, human error looks likely to be involved here and that has to be pointed to the? junear. was he distracted? was he texting? was he on the phone? did he have something in his blood? we don't know the answers to any of these things. but it's irrelevant because if the technology had been installed, then the human error would have been put aside. if he was distracted aware of his speed. i take this train myself a number of times and it stops the antiquated structure, a 140 year old tunnel and they always slow down maybe he was trying to
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makeup for lost time. again, this was a human factor that could have been overcome by a technological warning system. >> you talk about the warning signals, right, you said in the old days you had men out there who had eyes on the trains. listen here's another instance trucks get into accidents about 10 time as week at rail crossings. there was a collision on sunday in louisiana that killed a driver and people on the train. i know you don't believe these warning systems are good enough. so what is the improvement here? >> we should put cameras in the compartment where the engineer is and there's been discussion and that could be comparative to this airplane crash, we have a second engineer inside with the first one and that could prevent cell phone distractions or
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medical situation. you'd have a back up person in there. and another question is given the way these derailments took place, what happened to the passengers? we just heard one of them they went flying. why don't we have seatbelts? we have them in automobiles, trucks planes. as far as cars i said this last timen on the air, we have over 2,000 crashes a year on trains hitting automobiles or trucks and the irony is that many of these could be prevented if you had the automatic train system that i discussed earlier in place because the signal would have gone to the automotive and to the engineer and automatically slow the train down and indicated there was an obstruction on the rail
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crossing. we have this technology. texas is one of the leaders in this and yet, we have crashes, the one in north carolina is outrageous there were state troopers accompanies this truck that got stuck and they had a phone right in front of them and nobody used the phone to contact the central command and they could have shut down the system. >> appreciate you joining us again here on cnn. when we come right back more from the scene of a deadly amtrak derailment, live in philadelphia. well, a mortgage shouldn't be a problem your credit is in pretty good shape. >>pretty good? i know i have a 798 fico score thanks to the tools and help on
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back now live at philadelphia where investigators are searching for answers. what caused the deadly amtrak crash? you're looking at live pictures as well. was it excessive speed? tom. >> reporter: don, investigators were looking at kpevs speedexcessive speed because of reasons like this. you can calculate from this that the train is going faster than it ought to be by compareing it to fixed points along the track. the locomotive is very very heavy, somewhere around 97
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metric tons or close to a quarter million pounds and as this goes around the corner there's a lot of force trying to make it lean out from the tracks the faster it goes the more that force is pushing to the side. if the gravity is enough then it stays put, but what about the cars in the back there was a difference to passengers who said they felt like they were flying off the tracks. and a train in the spanish plane crash. all of that is why investigators from the very beginning are looking at excessive speed. >> tom foreman, thank you very much. let's talk about this now. george bible the author of train wrecks an engineering
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professor and also former washington post reporter don philiplips and cnn's safety analyst. george to you first, all seven cars jumped the track first, with one nearly obliterated. what will this wreckage tell us? >> well, the most dangerous thing in a train wreck is crushing the passengers. people often ask about seatbelts and they really wouldn't help if the car is crushed. so speed is the real issue here. the secondary effect is -- but believe it or not, a high speed derailment is survivable. there's an example of a train derailed in england and everyone lived except one unfortunate car
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wrapped itself around a utility pole. >> so george are you saying that seatbelts aren't needed they're more dangerous or they're not needed? >> the first problem is nobody would wear them and they're not going to provide any protection against crush, which is the most devastating problem with a plane wreck. for example, when the person was texting in los angeles, they had a head on collision with a commuter train and a freight train and it was shoved 52 feet into the first passengers car. so they're now introducing crushable ends for the first time and that wouldn't have protected the passengers in that level of crush. l you can say about crushable ends is they're better. >> yeah.
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david -- or don, do you guys want to weigh in on this? do you agree about the seatbelts? >> oh yes. >> i don't. >> who doesn't? >> philly agrees with what is just been said. seatbelts on trains would be something basically ridiculous. they wouldn't be used. if you forced people to use them who's going to enforce that? someone who wants to go to the dining car, there are going to be certain situations where you say you can't go you have to sit here. i just don't think -- >> it's not like the airplane where everyone is taking off at the same time because are constantly getting on and -- i understand that. but, david, why do you disagree? >> i understand about the
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crushability and the fact that nobody would use them is not a reason to not have a safety measure. but the danger is if there is an abrupt stop and i appreciate what other guests said but as you can see in this there clearly was an abrupt stop and we don't know if all the fatalities were from the front car but we hear stories from other passengers that were launched ahead and caused injuries themselves. people become projectiles, there's no questions about that. is it enforceable? no, those are culture differences but safety is safety as a whole. we can't say safety belts are going to fix something. we have to look that survivability of staying in a
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seat. if it was installed today, it would just break someone's neck so those can cause injuries. so you can't just say we're going to fix one thing and not something else. i think it needs to be looked at again. >> i want to get everyone's opinion on this. and you first because we've talked about this as it relates to airplanes p. sairplanes. there's no camera facing engineer. why not. >> there needs to be. he's by himself up there. it's not that long ago that we were talking about journalgermanwings and he was by hymnimself. the idea of cameras in the cockpit has been discussed and it needs to be talked about in
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rails because he's by himself. i think that needs to be looked at right away and would have the most impact. >> george. >> well unions always resisted cameras, they consider it very intrucive. interestingly, enough, freight trains only have one camera in the front and it's because the freight train can't stop so the camera looks out to see the car driving round the road barrier. >> don, what about you? >> i think every camera possible should be installed. it would make investigations easier and yes, it is true that unions and others don't like this. as far as i'm concerned, to heck
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with them. >> hmm. don, george david, thank you. we're going to be right back with more live from philadelphia. ♪ ♪ ♪ (under loud music) this is the place. ♪ ♪ ♪ their beard salve is made from ♪ ♪ ♪ sustainable tea tree oil and kale... you, my friend, recognize when a trend has reached critical mass. yes, when others focus on one thing you see what's coming next. you see opportunity. that's what a type e* does. and so it begins. with e*trade's investing insights center, you can spot trends before they become trendy. e*trade. opportunity is everywhere. when a moment spontaneously turns romantic why pause to take a pill?
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saw breaking news tonight as the national transportation safety board, says it was trablingtrabl traveling more than twice the speed limit when the break was slammed on. and so erin in terms of the law, is the key question at this point whether this is an accident or a crime? >> i believe it will be considered an accident. whether it will rise to being a crime will depend on the investigation. let me just say that i sympathize with all of the deceased family and injured. this is a tragedy. this is covered by a federal law. amtrak has a title 49 in which the united states provides compensation
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for an entire accident. whether that will be enough to take care of the seven deaths of and all the injuries is too early to say. the litigation has to take place in federal court and it will be consolidated in a procedure. if it's not enough then, of course the judge is going to have to figure out how to atlautllot the damages. >> they may go through that pretty quickly, depending on the findings here. >> you very correct. there are very serious injuries. i have no question that with speed involved there will be what we call a lack of care or negligence on the part human error and it's a great tragedy that they didn't have the computer in place so that even though there was human error, that they could have stopped
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this train. we don't know why the engineer was going 106 mile-per-hour in a 50-mile zone. >> there's a limit to the total amount of money that can be paid out to a single accident no matter how many victims or what the cause. >> and this seems very unfair. you will recall in 9/11 special legislation was passed so people got full damages. whether whether they will do that in this case is not clear. and the statute limits the entire compenationsation to $200,000,000 except interest thefor the five employees. so they'll get their damages through that act. >> i wonder if they can
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compelthis engineer to talk because he has now lawyered up and has said very little to investigators. can they compelhim him to talk? >> in my opinion, his lawyer is not going to allow him to do that but we will see. my guess is he's going to take the fifth amendment but we'll see. >> and that's his right, legally, can he do that. >> he's going to do that and the court may try to compelhim with subpoenas etc. but my experience has been that the lawyer will not voluntarily submit him, but maybe he will. we would all love to find out. >> and our investigator said on his part the smart fling him to do is listen to his attorneys
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and not speak at will to police and others. my question is the reason i say that is are there other cases where the railroad or the train's crew have been held liable in a derailment or accident? >> yes, there are many cases. you remember a few years ago in spain going around a curve as an excessive rate, these things tend to happen p.. this is very unusual, the 106 mile-per-hour in a 50 mile-per-hour zone. >> there's still so much that we don't know and as we saw in the recent germanwings plane crash that so much more to learn about the accident. what we think happens at first, it's not always the truth, it's not always what first meets the eye. >> that's a good point. we found that out in germanwings that there was a long history
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with this co-pilot. we don't know why this engineer was distracted or what reason he was going 106 miles per hour and not slowing down the train. there could be many explanations sleeping cell phone, something in his system. there's just no way to know. >> and it could be something mechanical mechanical. thank you. >> thank you very much for having me. >> much more to come on the deadly amtrak derail, including expert advice that could save your life in a crash. we'll be back live in philadelphia.
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was the right move for us. ask your doctor about xarelto®. you may be able to get up to 12 months at no cost. back now live in philadelphia and you're looking at live pictures where this investigation is going on urgently trying to figure out what caused this derailment that killed seven and injured over 200. cnn's dan simon has more now. >> reporter: passengers can't control whether train goes off
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the rails. but there is one thing you can control. most experts recommend you silt in a rear fash seat. you're thrown against the back of the seat but which car should you choose? >> i would suggest sestitting towards the rear of the train. >> the front cars will take the brunt of the force. >> if you notes in this accident, the front car took the bulk of the damage because the cars behind it continued to force the inertia forward. >> you can feel it tipping over and then there was the blackness of tipping over in the dark. not sure where i was going to end up by being hit by people and seats and things. >> and this has also renewed talk about seatbelts. there have been lot of stud ayes
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about this over the years and the cost versus the benefit would be too high and the fact that some would wear them and those not. >> each person on these trains can become a projectile. so that's to keep them in their seats so they don't become projectiles. >> reporter: some accidents, like the one in philadelphia are so severe it's unclear what if anything could have helped. >> dan, thank you very much. back with me now, cnn's safety analyst, so david, let's go over some of these questions. i want you to reiterate that. so you say the front car is safer but does it matter which particular seat in the front car? i have always heard that the front car isn't the safest.
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>> i said towards the rear of the car is safer. the front car is the one that gets the brunt of the damage. so i do -- >> so i miss heard that. so it's better to be somewhere towards the back then. i thought you said the front car was safer. so towards the back and even in the back so when you're sitting there. the seats, you can turn the seats around you can sit facing forward, backwards, depending on where the train goes. so which is better? >> the safest is to be facing the rear of the rain. the opposite direction that the train is going. because if there's a clishzollision going forward, it's going to stop this direction, so when that happens, you're forced into your seat as opposed to being fash facing forward and being
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launched out of your seat. >> i'm always surprised that you can move those seats so easily. does it make it any less safe? does it make the seats any less sturdy? if there's an impact that they may come loose? >> no these are what they call crash worthy seats or crash preventative seats. what they're designed for is to contain that impact and to keep you safe in your seat. so there's really no structural difference. they're designed for that. the mechanism is strong inside there. >> so as this train began to derail. we'veave heard the passengers say out of nowhere, they start to hear noises. i would imagine that's in the front part of the train and the people in the back hear it first and they begin to feel what
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happened up front after. >> you know, don, i've never been in one myself but from accounts in other accidents as well and other derailments, in these speed derailments, there's a sense of going faster the train starts to float because the suspension isn't made to go that fast in those conditions so it starts to rise up and as that happens, you sense something is happening but you don't know what the is. the front cars are tumbling. i spoke to one gentleman in the one in spain and he said that as it began to happen he was in the rear cars and he could feel it he knew something was happening but he just waited for something to happen to him and thankfully he wasn't injured. >> i just a few seconds left. anything you can do to protect yourself?
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>> in a train, the best thing you can do is be facing out. if you do have a seat in front of you, it can actually hurt you as you go forward. so it's a different scenario. don't do what you do on an airplane when you're on a train, that's for sure. >> thank you. the amtrak train was headed towards new york city where something shocking happened just today. shots fired in the middle of a bustling new york city street. more on that next. need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!! well it's good... good for me. what do you think? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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>> reporter: the attack is sudden scary, and over in a flash. >> these officers had no chance to call for assistant. they reacted quickly and instinctively. indeed, the whole incident took about three seconds from start to finish. >> reporter: two nypd cops see a man wearing a hood and a partial face mask. they make a connection to this guy, a man suspected of wacking four people in the head with a hammer in separate unprovoked attacked. all of a sudden he turns on the two officers. watch the hammerman lunge to the left. >> when they're crossing the street they must make eye contact and that's when he pulls out the hammer and goes directly towards the women officer.
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>> reporter: he tries to beat her four times and her partner struck him twice. they call him a paranoid schizophrenic who checked himself out of the mental facility. they said without his meds he transforms from dr. jekyll to mr. hyde. he hawses a string of arrests. including attacking a server. and on instagram, police find more than a dozen sketches including a hammer dripping with blood and also posted a poetry book with this verse "sharp edge blood, where you find the heart of the mind and in mind it's
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focussed on destroy all life on this planet." they say he was living on the street arm would a hammer when he so clearly needed help. susan candiotti, cnn new york. >> the suspect is in critical but stable condition and the officer suffered minor injuries but were not hospitalized. we'll be right back. while others go in circles... ...and repeat themselves...
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...we choose to carve our own path in the pursuit of exhilaration. the 306 horse power lexus gs. experience the next level of performance... ...and there's no going back. lease the 2015 gs 350 f sport with complimentary navigation system for these terms. see your lexus dealer. there's some facts about seaworld we'd like you to know. we don't collect killer whales from the wild. and haven't for 35 years. with the hightest standard of animal care in the world our whales are healthy. they're thriving. i wouldn't work here if they weren't. and government research shows they live just as long as whales in the wild. caring for these whales, we have a great responsibility to get that right. and we take it very seriously. because we love them. and we know you love them too. [sfx: bell] [burke] it's easy to buy insurance and forget about it. but the more you learn about your coverage, the more gaps you may find. [burke] like how you thought you were
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covered for this... [man] it's a profound statement. [burke] but you're not even covered for this... [man] it's a profound statement. [burke] or how you may be covered for this... [burke] but not for something like this... [burke] talk to farmers and see what gaps could be hiding in your coverage. [sfx: yeti noise] ♪ we are farmers bum - pa - dum bum - bum - bum - bum ♪
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i'm don lemon live in philadelphia. that's it for me. our live coverage continues. from the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. >> the traj's engineer has told police he could not recall how fast the train was traveling, but sammel is in philadelphia and he joins us now live.