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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  May 13, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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>> pelley: tonight on the "cbs evening news," disaster on america's busiest rail corridor. we'll have the investigation stories of the dead and tales of survival. >> it's scary. it's scary. everybody helped somebody. >> pelley: you can see the disaster most clearly from the air. investigators now say the train was speeding at more than twice the limit. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley reporting tonight from philadelphia. >> pelley: we are at the scene of the deadliest amtrak wreck in 16 years. it happened right there behind me on the busiest rail corridor in north america. 2,200 trains a day travel those rails between boston and washington. we have a live shot of the spot
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just to my left where a speeding northeast regional train jumped the tracks last night. there were 238 passengers on board and a crew of five. at least sef -- seven are dead, more than 200 injured. investigators from the national transportation safety board are here and tonight crews are moving the train to a secure location. hour after hour police, firefighters and other rescue workers searched desperately for anyone who might still be trapped in the wreckage of amtrak train 188. >> keep calling, okay. >> crawl forward sir. >> pelley: as victims were carried to ambulances, survivors told their stories among them beth davidz. >> once the car started filling up with smoke we actually climbed out the top. it was when i was sitting on the top of the car and we looked out, you could see the first... the engine and first cars just crushed. >> pelley: the train left
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washington's union station just after 7:10 last night bound for new york city. it stopped at philadelphia's 30th street station. then at 9:21, about nine miles from the station where the track curve, the train derailed, the engine and seven passenger cars. first responders had only flashlights to cut through the darkness. philadelphia mayor andrew jeffrey michael nutter rushed to the scene. >> it is an absolute disastrous mess. never seen anything like this in my life. >> pelley: you can see the disaster most clearly from the air. the train was traveling on a track that curves away from downtown philadelphia. the curve it was on when it derailed is at about a 45-degree angle with the rest of the track. a couple of the cars on the track are still intact, but i count one, two three four, five cars at least that have track. most of them are intact, except
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for one car. it appears that it hit some of the support equipment around the tracks at a terrific speed and was split open like a can. the speed limit at the derail. site is 50mph but the national transportation safety board says the train seen at the top of the screen in this surveillance video from a nearby business, was traveling at more than twice that speed. the camera captured the electrical sparks from the crash. two event recorders which keep track of the train's movements were recovered from the engine and are being analyzed. among those who lost their lives, 20-year-old justin zemser of rockaway beach, new york, a midshipman at the naval academy. susan zemser is his mother. >> he was wonderful. he was absolutely wonderful. everybody looked up to my son. there's no other way to describe him. >> pelley: also among the
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dead, jim gaines of plainsboro, new jersey a 48-year-old father of two and a video software architect for the associated press, and 55-year-old abeed gilanni, a wells fargo executive. still missing are 39-year-old rachel jacobs, the c.e.o. of a small tech company in philadelphia, and bob gildersleeve, a 45-year-old sales executive. correspondent kris van cleave is with us tonight. he's been following the investigation. kris what do you know? >> reporter: scott it is still very, very early in this investigation, but late today robert sumwalt from the national transportation safety board, told us the investigation is increasingly focusing on the speed of the train in the moments right before the deadly derailment. >> maximum authorized speed through this curve was 50mph. when the engineer induceed brake
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application was applied, the train was traveling at approximately 106mph. three seconds later when the data to the recorders terminated, the train speed was 102mph. >> reporter: the n.t.s.b. says it has not yet spoken to the train's engineer. earlier philadelphia's mayor said the engineer was treated for injuries suffered in the crash and then taken to a police station, but the philadelphia police department says he declined to make a statement before leaving the station with a lawyer. what he isn't saying the trains event recorder and front dash cam a may reveal. >> our mission is to find out not only what happened but why it happened so that we can prevent it from happening again. >> reporter: the engine and all seven passenger cars flew off the tracks in the violent derailment. a law enforcement official tells cbs news there is no evidence of terrorism or sabotage. pennsylvania senator pat toomey toured the crash site this afternoon.
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describe for me the scene. >> it's a horrifying scene. there are train cars that are completely unrecognizable as train cars. they've been destroyed, completely destroyed. >> reporter: investigators will also be looking at the aging cars themselves. they date from the 1970s. pictures from inside the train moments after the crash show luggage thrown from open shelving. passengers were tossed as the train tumbled raising questions about the need for seat belts on trains. is it time to talk about phasing out some of the older amtrak cars? >> well, that's certainly something we want to understand. was that a contributing factor to either the derailment or injuries or deaths that followed? >> reporter: and tonight we have learned the identity of the engineer. cbs news can now report his name is brandon bastian. we don't know much else about him. we know that amtrak is in the process of installing automatic technology to slow down a
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speeding train. the deadline for that is the end of the year. >> pelley: kris van cleave reporting for us tonight. kris, thank you very much. you saw robert sumwalt of n.t.s.b. this kris's report. we spoke to him a short time ago and asked him why the train was going so fast. >> we plan to interview the engineer at first opportunity that we can. we want to go back and look at the operation of the train. we want the look at the mechanical condition of the train. we want the find out exactly why this train got into the position that it did. >> pelley: what else do you know about what happened to the train in the moments before it left the tracks? for example, did the engineer hit the brakes? >> just moments before the derailment, the engineer placed the train into the emergency mode. that applies the emergency brakes to their full application. we know that. that was just moments before the derailment. we want to know, again, why was the train traveling at the speed that it was. >> pelley: is there any
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indication that there was any fault in the track itself? >> we will be looking at the condition of the track. we'll be looking at the traffic control signals to see what they were displaying. we'll be looking at the mechanical condition of the train. so nothing is off the table. i'd say that everything is on the table right now. >> pelley: robert sumwalt member of the national transportation safety board leading this investigation, thank you very much. it turns out that one of the worst train wrecks in u.s. history happened 71 years ago on the same curve in the track at frankford junction, the site of last night's derail. it was labor day 1943. an axle broke on the pennsylvania railroad's congressional limited. 79 people were killed. 117 were injured. many of those injured in the wreck here last night suffered rib fractures and other broken bones, suggesting they had been
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tossed around in the train. here's a report from jericka duncan. >> you saw people being thrown out of their seats luggage going all over the place. >> reporter: rajan shah says the most frightening part of the derailment is when the rights went out. >> it took a few minutes i think for everyone to realize the amount of pain they were in. that's when you really started hearing the screaming. >> reporter: he fractured his vertebrae, a disk and ribs and will be at hahnemann hospital for next few days. >> there was screaming. there was crying. >> reporter: passengers joan helfman and her son max were scratched and bruised when their train car flipped on its side. >> i saw head injuries, you know bleeding. >> broken arm broken legs, anything you can imagine is what happened. >> they were crying. they were in pain. >> reporter: 54 of the most seriously injured passengers were rushed to temple university hospital. today about two dozen remain hospitalized. dr. herbert cushing is chief medical officer. >> i'm surprised at the number
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of rib injuries. that surprised me in the relative few head injuries. and i think we're fortunate there weren't more deaths. things could have been a lot worse. >> reporter: instincts kicked in for patrick murphy, who took these pictures of the aftermath. the former congressman and iraq war veteran treated the devastating scene as a battlefield. >> i stood back and just told the people who were bleeding to put pressure on their wounds where they were bleeding from because you don't want to see those folks bleed out. >> reporter: did that train thank you talk about in iraq come through in that moment when you didn't want the leave anyone? >> we leave no one behind. i wasn't going to climb out when there were people still hurt. >> reporter: at this hour, there are 23 patients from the derail. here at temple university hospital, and, scott doctors expect at least six of those patients to go home tonight. >> pelley: jericka thanks.
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some of the injured were treated at aria health systems hospitals. earlier today we spoke to three of the doctors. in the emergency room, we spoke to dr. gerald widerow dr. cynthia fosco and dr. rob danoff. the patients that you saw what were their injuries? >> we had broken ribs. we had fractured neck. we had spinal cord injuries. we had a pelvic fracture, some head trauma. there was a variety of what we say "blunt trauma." >> pelley: rob some of the patients spoke to you about their experience. what did they say to you? >> one was a conductor. he was on the train going to his job. he was in the cafeé car. he said he was talking normally, all of a sudden, and this was common with people, they heard this loud screech. the next thing he remembered is he woke up spitting out dirt. he was on the side and reremembers seeing a philadelphia police officer asking if he could help him.
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another woman was someone who every week, four times a week she's on that same train. she's always in the first car. this time she said her secretary couldn't get it. she was at first annoyed why didn't you get me first car. when i talked to her she had a concussion but she was understanding. i said, you know, your life was probably saved because the worst injuries were in the first and second cars, so she was really grateful. >> pelley: what impressed you about last night? what did you see this you will never forget? >> last night the parking lot where the ambulances come in was full of masss transit bus police van ambulances, and we had an orderly triage and treatment of patients, well over 30 at the same time. >> pelley: there's no estimate for when the trains will be back on schedule. service between new york and philadelphia remains shut down in both directions. that's disrupted travel for up to 85,000 daily riders on amtrak's northeast corridor. some of amtrak's equipment has been charitably described as
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"antique," but despite that, a house panel today cut amtrak's budget even more. nancy cordes is on capitol hill. >> reporter: the 250 million people who ride these rails each year pass through tunnels and over bridges that are more than 100 years old and look it. amtrak's signal system was installed prior to world war ii, and electrical wires date back to the 1930s. according to a report by rail officials, on some occasions trains get tangled in the lowered wires and tear them down. david hughes is a former amtrak c.e.o. >> what amtrak has is among the poorest i've ever seen given the level of use they get. the accumulated deferred maintenance and lack of attention really makes it almost a third-world operation. >> reporter: amtrak estimates that maintaining and upgrading the northeast corridor would cost $2.6 billion per year, but
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congress provided just $1.4 billion this year for all of amtrak's operations, from coast to coast. next year funding will drop by nearly 20%. despite an attempt by house democrats today to boost it. >> all in favor say aye. >> aye. >> all opposed say no. >> no. >>. >> reporter: that didn't stop a bipartisan group of mayors, including new york's bill de blasio, from begging lawmakers to invest more in infrastructure. it doesn't appear that increased funding for rail is coming any time soon, so what is the alternative? >> practically speaking, we're stuck because the infrastructure keeps aging as we're having this press conference our city's infrastructures are aging. certainly our rail system, as well. >> reporter: amtrak's northeast line does turn a profit, but a lot of that money goes to prop up the rest of the amtrak system. there is a bill working its way through congress, scott that would allow amtrak the use more of that money to make
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improvements on its busiest line. >> pelley: nancy cordes reporting for us from capitol hill. nancy, thanks. in a moment, we'll have an update on that missing u.s. helicopter in nepal. and california's endless drought is forcing wild animals into the city. those stories and more when the "cbs evening news" continues from philadelphia. protect you from cancer? what if one push up could prevent heart disease? [man grunts] one wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease- pneumococcal pneumonia. one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you ... from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain difficulty breathing and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13 ® is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13 ® if you've had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients if you have a weakened immune system,
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>> pelley: we're going to turn now to the disaster in nepal. searchers are still looking this evening for a u.s. military helicopter that went missing yesterday. six marines and two nepalese soldiers were delivering relief supplies to victims of the earthquake and the aftershocks that killed 8,000. seth doane covered the april earthquake, and he has the latest for us tonight. seth? >> reporter: scott at first light early wednesday morning u.s. military helicopters took off from kathmandu's airport. that aircraft had been brought in to try to aid after the april 25th earthquake. now they're being used in the search for their own six of their own. we had seen earlier in the week u.s. troops delivering relief supplies to some of the hardest-hit region but after 21 hours of searching on wednesday there was no sign of the helicopter or the eight people on board. there have been no new major aftershocks following that massive 7.3 earthquake that rattled nepal on tuesday
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sending people screaming into the streets. the tent cities that we had seen starting to get smaller were getting bigger once again as people were just too afraid to be indoors. also resuming that accept for survivors with people using cameras and dogs to try to sift through the rubble. scott? >> pelley: seth doane reporting for us from beijing tonight. seth, thank you. many are stranded after heavy rains in texas and we'll have that coming up. >> this portion of the "cbs evening news" is sponsored by the people of america's oil and natural gas industry. learn more at energytomorrow.org. natural gas producer... and we could soon become number one in oil. because hydraulic fracturing technology is safely recovering lots more oil and natural gas. supporting millions of new jobs. billions in tax revenue... and a new century of american energy security.
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densely packed parts of los angeles. several months ago this pack of coyotes were caught on a security camera running across a burbank lawn. the coyotes chased nick mendoza while he walked his dog. >> when i was walking, i saw the four and the others started circling, coming around. that's when i knew that i was the prey. and when you're the prey, that's very scary. >> reporter: martine colette runs a wildlife way station north of los angeles that rabble face exotic animals. she now sees animals coming down from the hills looking for something to drink and has started placing bowls of water around the property to help them. >> people have water. they have fish ponds swimming pools, dog dishes for water. an animal that smells that water will come down into urban areas. >> reporter: experts say the drought has hit small animals the hardest. die an nichols has rescued and fed 191 baby deer in the last year at her farm in placer
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county, california. this rescue group nursed hundreds of starving squirrels back the life and released them into the wild. and north of san francisco an owl looking for the food was plucked off the interstate by the highway patrol. >> they will travel long distances not to die. and if that means traveling into a neighborhood and places like that, they will travel. >> reporter: to make things worse, california is entering its prime fire season. scott, a bad wildfire only displaces more animals. >> pelley: omar villafranca reporting for us tonight. omar, thanks very much. we'll be back from the site of the train disaster here in philadelphia in just a moment. and we see no reason to stop. so cvs health is creating industry-leading programs and tools that help people stay on medicines as their doctors prescribed. it could help save tens of thousands of lives every year.
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to work with those large cranes. they've begun removing the amtrak railcars from the scene of last night's wreck. and the new track is being brought in to replace the rails that were torn up. at least seven people were killed when amtrak train 188 en route from washington to new york jumped the tracks. more than 200 people were injured. the n.t.s.b. says the train was traveling at more than 100mph, more than twice the speed limit. the engineer applied the emergency brake but much too late. no word yet on when service between new york and philadelphia will be restored. "cbs this morning" will have the very latest overnight developments in this story first thing tomorrow. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world i'm scott pelley in philadelphia. good night. there are a lot of channels on your tv but only so many you want to watch
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first tonight at 7:00, we have learned the amtrak train that derailed in philadelphia was traveling at twice the speed limit when it went off the rails. seven people were killed. several more remain in the hospital tonight. thank you for joining us. i'm leslie foster. derek is joining us live from philly with the latest on the deadly derailment. >> reporter: i'm here several yards from the crash scene. i want you to look across the street where you can see the n.t.s.b. and authorities hard at work pulling portable light packs into the area. that m

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