tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS May 14, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
>> pelley: the death toll rises in the amtrak disaster. the engineer says he has no memory of the accident. also tonight the technology that could have prevented the crash. a vitamin helps prevent a recurrence of skin cancer. we have the results of a new study. and recognize this man? he's quite a grouch. >> how grouchy does he get? captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: today another body was discovered in the twisted wreck of the amarillo train in philadelphia. that makes eight dead in tuesday night's crash. officials say everyone has now been accounted for. at least 43 are still in the hospital. late today the national
transportation safety board said the train had been accelerating for about a minute before it reached 106mph, more than twice the speed limit and derailed on a curve. kris van cleave in philadelphia begins our coverage. >> reporter: with repair efforts under way amtrak's president and c.e.o., joseph boardman, took us to the tracks near the crash site. when you got the news the train was going that fast when it hit this curve sir what went through your mind? >> it's kind of a sickening feeling. there was a heartbreaking situation when you looked at the video that you saw out here. we certainly were concerned for our customers our crew. it was a very difficult time. report the train's engineer, brandon bostian remains at the center of the investigation. the engine he was operating is believed to have rolled over numerous times after it derailed while navigating a sharp curve at more than two times the speed limit. the national transportation safety board's robert sumwalt today said bostian has agreed to
be interviewed in the coming days and the train was accelerating as it approached the curve. >> just before entering the curve is when the engineer applied the ing near-induced breaking to put it into emergency braking. report his lawyer says bostian does not remember the crash and suffered a concussion and received 14 staples to close a wound on his head. bostons -- bostian's online resume says he's been an amtrak engineer since 2010. before that he was a conductor. he was often critical of the railroad industry for failing to implement safeguards against human error. one posting from 2011 read, "at any point over the previous 80 years the railroad could have voluntarily implemented some form of this technology." investigators say they don't know why the train was speeding. bostian has already submitted a blood sample to test for the presence of drugs and alcohol. they will also examine his cell phone records. philadelphia mayor michael
nutter said today city police officers learned little from bostian during questioning after the accident. >> i believe it was a pretty short interview in which he apparently indicated that he did not want to be interviewed. >> reporter: if negligence is found, is there the possibility of criminal charges here? >> the premise of your question doesn't allow me to answer that. is the huge if. that is way down the line. i cannot address that kind of issue. >> reporter: the engine or locomotive that was driving this train had only been in service a little over a year, and scott it had no reported history of unintended acceleration. >> pelley: kris van cleave reporting for us near the site of the accident. kris, thanks very much. the teenage son of one missing passenger made a video plea for help finding his dad. >> my name's marc gildersleeve. please help me find my dad. >> pelley: but late today we learned that marc's dad bob gildersleeve, was the man whose
body was discovered this morning. the meaning of the tragedy only grows the more you know about those who were loves. rachel jacobs organized a group of former detroit reedz to give the city a economic and culture boost. she helped arrange a carnegie hall concert for the detroit symphony. derrick griffith was a college dean and a champion of the downtrodden. he helped low-income kids get an education. when he learned a young mom had her electricity cut off and couldn't give her daughter a thanksgiving dinner, he cooked one for them. at the associated press jim gaines always had a kind word and a hug for his colleagues. they lovingly named him "geek of the month" for his video software innovations. he organized a take your child to work day and delighted the kids with his bubble-making machine. at naval academy midshipman justin zemser was an athlete scholar and leader. in his new york city community he volunteered at soup kitchens and nursing homes and helped kids with autism. abeed gilanni, a wells fargo
executive, was dedicated to his family. a neighbor described him simply as a lovely man. late today the safety board said that a technology called positive train control could have prevented the accident, but the president of amtrak said they've had technical problems installing that system along the treacherous philadelphia curve. we asked omar villafranca to tell us more. >> reporter: it was 2008 when the engineer of this los angeles commuter train missed a warning signal while texting and collided with a freight train. the 25 deaths prompted congress to pass strict new safety guidelines. a safety system called "positive train control" or ptc may have prevented that accident. it is now in use in southern california and can stop or start a train by computer, avoiding human error. metrolink spokesman jeff lustgarten. >> when you have a system like this in place, speed won't be an issue.
the train will be able to operate safely at maximum speeds. >> reporter: gps technology transmits signals from thousands of track centers to a central computer system. >> the system looks at the size of the train the weight of the train and the speed of the train at all times. >> reporter: mr. mccarthy used a simulator to show us how ptc relays crucial information to the train's engineer. >> what it was telling me is you're going too fast for this curve. i won't let you take this curve. >> reporter: warning lights and beeps tell the engineer how many seconds he has to brake before the computer takes over. >> if at any time i am unable to stop the train positive train control then takes command stops the train to prevent any type of incident or accident. >> reporter: that was not the case in the bronx, new york. this 2013 crash left four passengers dead. the n.t.s.b. says it was one of 29 rail disasters in the past decade that could have been avoided with ptc. while positive train control
offers safety, it is also costly $50,000 a mile. scott, the association of american railroads says $5 billion has already been spent and that only covers 60% of the trains. >> pelle amtrak says it will have positive train control on the northeast corridor in about a year. omar, thank you very much. today president obama pledged to defend america's allies in the most dangerous region in the world, the middle east. many of them, including saudi arabia, are worried about iran's nuclear program. tonight the president is wrapping up a summit at camp david, and margaret brennan is there. >> reporter: it was meant to be a summit with heads of state from 16 arab ally, but only two showed up. the others sent deputies. it's a sign of their frustration with the u.s. for negotiating a nuclear deal with iran, their longtime adversary. president obama sought to personally reassure gulf leaders who make up the gcc that he's not abandoning them.
>> the united states will stand by our gcc partners against external attack and will deepen and extend the cooperation that we have when it comes to the many challenges that exist in the region. >> reporter: today the u.s. pledgede arms sales to the region, increase joint military exercises and intergrate their missile defense systems. but that stopped short of what many here wanted a written security pact pledging that the u.s. military would come to their defense if threatened by iran. gulf leaders publicly say that they support negotiations with iran, but privately saudi leaders are skeptical of the deal and say if iran gets to keep even part of its nuclear program, well, then, they want one, too. and, scott, that is raising fears of a middle east arms race, which is exactly what the white house is trying to head off. >> pelley: margaret brennan at the presidential retreat in maryland. margaret, thank you very much.
today isis released a recruiting message that is believed to be from the group's leader, abu bakr baghdadi. the voice on the tape urges muslims to fight for isis by joining them in syria or their home countries. this is important because baghdadi was last heard from in, and there had been reports that he was gravely wounded in an air strike in iraq by the u.s.-led coalition. iraq, of course, has been at war since 2003, and on that subject a likely republican presidential candidate, jeb bush, has been adjusting his answer to a predictable question. monday he was asked if, knowing what we know now he would have invaded iraq, as his brother did. he said yes. when asked again tuesday, he said he misunderstood the question and didn't know what he would do. today he revised the answer again. >> so here's the deal: if we're all supposed to answer hype tet tet -- hypothetical questions
knowing what we know now what would you have done? i would not have engaged. i would not have gone into iraq. >> pelley: and john dickerson our cbs news political director is joining us now. john, jeb bush seemed to be on a long journey to that answer. >> he's very lucky the election is a long way off. this is a set of questioanybody could have predicted when this adventure began for him about the war started during his brother's presidency, and yet it took him several days to finally find his voice on it. so when they're compiling the highlight reel for voters of a person with great political skill, this will not be on it. but the good news for jeb bush is that these kind of things stick around when your opponents keep them to keep hammering you. well, republican opponents are not going to be talking about the iraq war a lot in their contest, and in theic... and against the likely democratic nominee hillary clinton jeb bush is going the face somebody who voted to authorize that war so when it comes down to it, hillary clinton is more exposed on the question of the iraq war
than jeb bush was so for him not a great couple days, but probably more of a cul-de-sac than a detour. >> pelley: in terms of the election, these are the preliminaries. >> that's right. he's got a chance to regroup. >> pelley: thank you. today an american soldier was laid to rest after being killed in battle in 1968. more than 1,600 service members are missing in vietnam. james holt was among them. he returned this week to a grateful nation, more grateful than his family might have imagined. here's david martin. >> reporter: after 47 years master sergeant james holt came home from vietnam. met by his widow linda his two daughters and other family members. >> i thought oh, my god he's finally home. i thank god all-mighty that he's finally home. >> reporter: there was a military honor guard as you might expect, but no one expected this, a spontaneous
honor guard of police officers. you saw all those police officers lined up. >> oh, yeah. it was quite amazing. >> reporter: thanks to cell phones and social media everyone can now see those police officers lined up. they just happened to be at washington's national airport greeting family members of fallen police officers arriving for an annual dinner. when they heard a fallen soldier was coming home... >> we just all fell together. it was perfect, almost like it was meant to be. >> reporter: holt was a green beret at a outpost called long vei overrun by the north vietnamese army in 1968. dennis thompson was there, too. he came to be with the family for their final farewell. he was the last man to see holt alive. >> the last time i saw jim he was... he appeared to be trapped in the medical bunker. >> reporter: what do you think happened to him? >> i think he was shot to death
in the medical bunker. >> reporter: holt's body was never found but this past december, new d.n.a. techniques identified pieces of human bone as his. those remains were buried today at arlington, an event that would have passed unnoticed by all but family and friends. >> this is just one little thing that can happen to a family in war. >> reporter: except that spontaneous honor guard gave that little thing the significance it deserved. [taps playing] it took james holt a long time to come home, but when he finally did he chose the perfect moment. david martin, cbs news, washington. >> pelley: a new study suggests that a vitamin can stop skin cancer from coming back. and an indy champ has a frightening crash when the "cbs evening news" continues.
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make sure nothing gets out of hand. >> reporter: embezzle low's skin cancers were basal and squamous cell, not melanoma. uv rays from the sun can damage skin cells prevent healing and lead to cancer inch a recent facebook post to raise arareness of the dangers of tan, tawny willoughby shows facial scars after being treated for the same kind of skin cancer breslow had. a new australian study followed 386 patients with two previous boats of non-melanoma skin cancer. one group was give an drug for one year, the other a placebo the group taking the vitamin had a 23% reduction in skin cancer recurrence. dr. jessica krant is breslow's dermatologist. >> i'm very excited about this study, but it looks like patients who have a history of many skin cancers will be able to take a regular vitamin from the drugstore and reduce their risk of getting future skin cancers.
>> reporter: what good is it if it's not totally preventing the lesions. >> some patients have up to 100 skin cancers a year. for those patients to reduce by 25% the number of lesions they're having surgery for or having other treatments for is very significant. >> reporter: the vitamin may work by helping to repair the damaged d.n.a. that can lead to skin cancer, but scott even if further study show this is effective, this b vitamin is not going to replace the need the cover up, use sunscreen and avoid sun burn. >> pelley: be sensible. doc, thanks very much. the stage is set for a legal showdown over tom brady's deflategate punishment. that story is coming up. >> this portion of the "cbs evening news" is correspondents correspondents -- sponsored by cvs health. health is everything. making a fist something we do to show resolve. to defend ourselves.
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♪ if i ever find out what this wowrd could mean ♪ >> pelley: that is big bird. tomorrow a documentary comes out about a man plucked from obscurity to play what would become the most famous bird if america. tonight jim axelrod gives us a peek behind the beak. >> reporter: you probably don't recognize the man behind the wheel even though you've seen him countless times before. >> they say what do you do? i say well, you've heard of sesame street, i'm big bird. >> i'm a very good bird. >> oh, it's him all right, you know carrol spinney's voice anywhere. will you do it again? >> oh, sure. it's easy to do it. it doesn't cost me a cent. >> reporter: at 81, spinney has logged some 4,000 episodes as big bird since the start of "sesame street" in 1969, operating what's essentially one of the world's largest hand puppets. since big bird stands eight feet
two inches tall, spinney's head only goes to the bottom of big bird's neck, he operates the mouth with his right arm. but carrol spinney didn't create just one iconic character he created two. >> why are you in such a bad mood all the time? i don't get it. >> it works for me. >> reporter: you know this guy. how grouchy does he get? >> not very grouchy. maybe in traffic. >> reporter: but his daughter says spinney is no oscar. >> when he first asked me out i went home. i really did do cartwheels. >> reporter: what was making you so euphoric? >> i was dating big bird for pete's sake. >> reporter: carrol spinney is much more like the lovable slightly goofy fine-feathered friend that generations of children, like five-year-old boy sick with cancer whose parents asked big bird to give their boy a call. >> so i called.
they put a phone to his bed. i said, "hello, joey. this is me, big bird. i heard you've had a hard time. i just want to say hello." he hung up. he said, "big bird called me. he's my friend. he smiled and he passed right then. >> reporter: so this little boy who hadn't smiled in months... >> he died with a smile on his face. >> reporter: 46 years in, spinney would like the make it at least 50. who better to make kids feel safe, loved and grounded than a bird who never flies. jim axelrod, cbs news, woodstock, connecticut. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
bruce jenner breaks his silence on how kris treating him during his transition. >> we're with kris today as she releases new heart felt footage on her special. >> absolutely overwhelming. >> a match made in heaven. >> >> when they see how it all played out, they'll be really surprised. >> and your first look at the new miniseries. >> she kind of [ bleep ] all over my mother's legacy. >> kathy griffin confronted after melissa rivers rips into her. >> she kind of [ bleep ] all over my mother's legacy. and the housewives today on kim richards new battery charges. >> she's working on