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Greyhound Bus Attack: Greyhound Says Attack Was an Isolated Act

Aired October 3, 2001 - 13:15   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We're breaking into that report, our apologies, to go to the Press Club here in Washington, where the president of Greyhound speaks.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

CRAIG LENTZSCH, PRESIDENT, GREYHOUND: Our condolences go to the families and friends of the passengers that were hurt and injured and all of the people involved in the incident, and the drivers as well. We are doing all we can to provide assistance to the passengers and their families.

Greyhound staff is on the ground at the site and at hospitals, and have been there since early this morning.

The bus originated in Chicago, on its way to Orlando, Florida. The schedule had 38 passengers on a driver onboard at the time of the incident. Immediately after the incident, I made the decision to act with an abundance of caution, and on the side of safety and security, and suspend service until we could identify more details and get more information on the nature of the incident.

The Department of Transportation has been very supportive of us today. This morning, I met with senior U.S. DOT officials, including Secretary Mineta, and Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, as well as the chief of intelligence and security for DOT, and the acting administrator of the federal motor carrier safety administration.

I've also consulted with law enforcement officials in Tennessee and with the FBI. The officials have assured me that they believe this tragic accident was the result of an isolated act by a single deranged individual.

Given that information, I then consulted with the union leadership of our company, and we have concluded that it's safe to resume service for our customers and necessary to resume service for our country.

As of 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Greyhound operations across the United States have resumed service.

The system is safe. But we understand that in the aftermath of this incident, that our employees and passengers may not wish to return to the buses today.

Nevertheless, to address this system this situation, in order to offer maximum choice and convenience for our customers, today we will be offering a full refund to any passenger who does not wish to travel to their destination, and we have partnered with Amtrak to offer an alternative. Today only, Greyhound ticket holders may exchange their ticket for an Amtrak ticket to be used for service on any northeast corridor unreserved train and other trains in the Amtrak system on a space-available basis.

Now let me return to safety and security. At Greyhound, or passengers and our employee's safety is our first priority. That is why I made the decision early this morning to temporarily suspend our operations. Greyhound and inner-city buses provide the safest mode of transportation. We have long had security measures in place like security guards and cameras in our terminals to make our environment safe for our employees and our customers.

But the world has change in recent weeks. Our concept of what is acceptable security for ground transportation in a crisis situation has changed. Greyhound, therefore, has taken steps to tighten security even more, and we will be continuing to do so in the wake of this incident.

Yesterday we began an experimental program wanding passengers and their carry-on luggage with electronic-sensing devices in San Francisco and Dallas, and that program began today in Orlando, Florida.

Prior to reboarding passengers today, we are hand-searching carry-on luggage.

Coincidentally, I am in Washington D.C. today to meet with the Department of Transportation and Congress officials to explore a number of joint actions we can take to enhance bus safety. And we have agreed that we will -- that the company and the company's union will coordinate on the development of, and implementation of enhanced bus security program with the Department of Transportation.

Let me repeat, our operations are safe and are now up and running, and our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of the passengers who were injured or died in this unfortunate incident.

And now I will be happy to take a few questions.

Yes, sir?

WOODRUFF: We've been listening to Craig Lentzsch, who's the president of Greyhound, explain that after consulting with law enforcement officials in Tennessee in the aftermath of the passenger slitting the throat of the bus driver, the bus overturning, 10 people dying in that incident, that Greyhound has now determined with law enforcement that this was an isolated act, in Mr. Lynch's words, by a single, deranged individual. And he said, as you just heard, Greyhound service has continued as of 1:00 today Eastern Time with increased security procedures, as you heard him saying just quickly. They're using sensing devices for people who are traveling, getting on the buses. They're also hand-searching carry-on luggage.

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