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Source: Engineer Initially Told Police He Could Not Recall His Speed; NTSB: Train Was Traveling 106 Mph In 50 Mph Zone. Aired 21:00- 22:00p ET.

Aired May 13, 2015 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, ANDERSON COOPER 360 HOST: Welcome to another live hour of 360. We are in Philadelphia tonight. Where just under 24 hours ago an Amtrak train with 243 people on board crashed.

Now, you're looking at live pictures from the scene right now. The NTSB says all but two cars have now been removed from the tracks. They're going to stay on those tracks tomorrow.

At least seven people we know were killed in the derailment, hundreds treated for injuries. Those numbers may increase. Those involved as well as investigators are still trying to make sense of what happened. Still searching to make sure they have everybody accounted for.

The engineer has been identified. He's 32-years-old. His name is Brandon Bostian from New York.

We also learn today, the train was going 106 miles per hour just before the derailment. The engineer put on the emergency break just moments before. That investigation is obviously in the very early stages.

There still a lot of questions and the possibility of more victims as I said at the crash site, that has not been rolled out at this point.

Over the next hour, we're going to hear from survivors, we're going to get the latest in the investigation. Explore whether more regulations are needed to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

But first, more on the devastation that occurred here last night. Take a look.


It was just before 9:30 Tuesday night when the Amtrak train derailed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a passenger train that has rolled over.

COOPER: Catapulting passengers and sending seven train cars and the engine off their tracks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notify Amtrak to shut down the entire Northeast Corridor.

COOPER: Amtrak 188 had departed Philadelphia's 30th Street Station at about 9:10 bound for New York with 238 passengers and 5 crew on board. Less than 15 minutes into the ride, passengers say they felt something was wrong.

JEREMY WLADIS, TRAIN PASSENGER: You feel this really boom and you don't think that much except that the train doesn't bump and then, the next thing is really harder shake and then, by the third time, you knew there -- the train was derailing.

COOPER: This surveillance footage at 9:23 briefly captured the train passing by. Moments later, flashes can be seen as it hurdles off the tracks.

JOAN ELFMAN, TRAIN PASSENGER: I -- so, so many head injuries and, you know, bloody faces and, you know, people were really injured. They were thrown out of their seats. There was nothing I can do to help. I had nothing except to just talk to the people.

COOPER: The train was traveling in the Northeast Corridor, the busiest area of commuter rail traffic in America with over 2000 daily trains. According to Amtrak, over 11 million passengers traveled from D.C. to Boston in 2014 under trains alone.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADELPHIA: It is an absolute, disastrous mess. Never seen anything like this in my life.

COOPER: Speed was a concern early on from investigators due to the type of damage sustained. The sharp turn had called for speed of just 50 miles per hour. But by this afternoon, the NTSB confirmed speed doubling that.

ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB MEMBER: The train was traveling an approximately 106 miles per hour, three seconds later, when the data, two of the recorders terminated, the train speed was 102 miles per hour.

COOPER: Causing many to question that the crash had been due to human error.


And Jason Carroll joins me now as well as Senior Investigator Correspondent Drew Griffin.

Drew you've been looking at the engineer. I understand you have some new information.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. We do know that he's been an engineer for about four any half years and there's been some question as -- whether he's been cooperative or not. We have some new reporting from Rene Marsh, our Transportation Correspondent who says that the engineer was indeed approached last night while he was being treated for his injuries and he told police he couldn't recall his speed.

They went back to him today brought him into the office -- to talk about it.

[21:05:00] He came with a lawyer. He would not answer any questions.

The NTSB says they are going to try to talk to him I believe tomorrow, but right now, he is not talking. Initially, he told authorities, he could not recall the speed he was traveling.

COOPER: And Jason, according to the NTSB official I talked to before that it is Amtrak policy to -- that it is Amtrak policy to give a blood test or breathalyzer in a case like this.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. They want to run these types of tests to see if there was anything in an engineer system. But there are never of other things they're going to be looking at as well. Obviously, they want to talk and -- but they're going to be doing a test of the emergency brake system to see perhaps if it was a mechanical failure. The way...

COOPER: ... impossible runaway trains.

CARROLL: Exactly. They'll be looking at a number of these factors, the key to their investigation also will be in making sure that they talk to this engineer. I mean, NTSB made that very clear they've got to talk to him.

COOPER: Right. The Mayor earlier in the day came out, Drew, with some very critical comments of the engineers, saying regardless of what happened it was reckless for him to be going 106 miles an hour. The NTSB kind of said the Mayor went too far. He shouldn't have said that that, you know, there are any number of possibilities but...


... an ambulance is passing by. But when you look at the speed of this train, 106 miles an hour around a turn that you're only suppose to be going 50 miles per an hour, and the bottom line is -- the question that needs to be asked and answered is, why was that train going so fast?

GRIFFIN: Exactly. It's the speed. You know, when you're driving down a highway and you get to an off front and you see that sign that has the truck kind of tipping?

COOPER: Right.

GRIFFIN: That's the situation we're at here. There's a reason that the speed is lowered. It's because you can't travel that fast in a train. The energy will just pull you up the train.

So, the engineer who -- we now know has been an engineer for four years or more must have known that. The question is, why are you going 106 miles an hour at this point? And no matter what happened, if there's a problem on the track or if there was a problem with the train, everything is accentuated by that speed.

COOPER: Right. The straight-away, before that turn, the speed limit was 80 miles an hour and the emergency break which was pulled was only pulled about three or four seconds before the derailment itself.

CARROLL: Well, and there are also questions about emergency alarms. Were emergency alarms sounding and did this engineer or anyone for that matter respond to those alarms. So, that's another thing they're going to be looking at as well.

COOPER: They do have these so called black boxes. There's also ford (ph) motion camera that obviously the NTSB is going to be looking, going to be analyzing. But it's still very early in this investigation, Drew.

GRIFFIN: Yeah. And the NTSB approaches is much different than the Mayor here. The Mayor wants answers right away. The police are looking to see if there's any crime, who is going to be interest (ph). The NTSB is trying to figure out what the problem was with this train so this can be fixed and not repeated.

I just want to add one other little piece of the information, the investigation, there is a search warrant now to try to get his file, the engineer's file and make sure, perhaps, he wasn't on the phone.

COOPER: That's interesting.

GRIFFIN: Or if there was any information passed beforehand or even after that may be somewhat incriminating or explain what was going on.

COOPER: So, I think, (inaudible) service if I'm correct, there in -- there was a train incident in the past where the engineer was believed to be on the phone, right? That I'm...

GRIFFIN: That's right.

GRIFFIN: You know, we're speaking beyond my knowledge here but I also believe that engineers on Amtrak are not supposed to even have phones.

CARROLL: Right. And of course, the bottom line is this. They want to make sure, try to check to make sure that he wasn't distracted by anything whether it be a phone or anything else for that matter. So, that's why...

COOPER: ... whenever it may have been again, a lot that we don't know.

The other piece of these that I think a lot of people are going to start to look at is the safety devices, and you and I talked about this during the last hour. The safety devices which are in place, in trains, on tracks and a number of other areas all throughout the country but not on this stretch of track.

GRIFFIN: Right. It's a system. It has an acronym, assets (ph) and its positive train control. It's literally, from what I understand, it's being able to slow the train down automatically without the engineer involved. So, if the system senses you're going too fast, you're coming to this turn at 106 miles an hour, long before, three seconds ago, you'll be able to slow that train down. And the NTSB official here today said flat out if this was in place at this time, this accident would not have happened.

COOPER: And it's suppose to be in place everywhere by the end of this year by law but now, there's a talk in Congress understand based on pressure from a number of group to actually extend the deadline of that some as far as 2020 that it all has to be in place, we'll see if this has any impact (ph) on all of that.

Drew Griffin, Jason Carroll, thank you as always.

As we mentioned, the train was going 106 miles per hour into the curve when it derailed. Now that is twice the speed limit for that area.

Kate River (ph) was on the train. She's a frequent Amtrak rider. She says, she actually noticed that it seem to be going faster than normal. Kate (ph) joins me now on the phone.

Kate (ph), thanks for being with us. I know you were injured in the crash. You had a concussion. I know you hurt your arm. How do you doing now?

[21:10:00] KATE RIVERS, TRAIN PASSENGER: I'm doing better, I'm a little banged but things are going a lot better now.

COOPER: I hate to ask you to relive this but can you just kind of walk us through if it's OK with you what happened, what you remember?

RIVERS: Sure I actually remember very vividly I remember kind of making a note to myself that I felt a bit like I was on the (inaudible) and just traveling way too fast and we came into the curve and the car started to shake and all of a sudden there was just sound of crashing metal and grinding metal and all I could do really was hold on to the front of my seat and concentrate on staying conscious. And a man fell on top of my arm while we sort of like -- and when everything kind of saddles (ph) I was able to climb at the front of the car an opening and was able jump about 5 feet down to get off the trucks and into the brush next to the crash.

COOPER: Which car were you in?

RIVERS: I think I was in maybe the second or third from the last car so I was towards the back of the...


RIVERS: ... train.

COOPER: And do you have any sense of time in all of these? How quickly, you know, how long it all lasted from the time you heard the first sound that something was amiss to when you realize when, you know, everything came to settle?

RIVERS: Not really it always very fast and very slowly at the same time but I if I had to guess maybe was in the standard, you know, 30 seconds maybe.

COOPER: And how we're people around you? RIVERS: There was some screaming there was -- mostly in my car, (inaudible) there was just conversation about, is everybody OK and where, you know, where the hammers to break though the window and does anyone need any help. But they did hear a woman screaming that her leg was broken and a couple of other people has had been have been hit by windows or whatever.

COOPER: Do you do you recall how quickly rescue workers started to arrived and how do you how did you end up getting treatment, how long that that take?

RIVERS: I think they maybe started showing up within 10 minutes. I ran, I saw I (inaudible) had crash near what look likes oil tankers to me. And so I started running the other way down the truck to try to find someone. And maybe about 300 yards away there was a small building where people were and maybe about 10 minutes after I found those people, I heard the first siren. And a few police officers came over to my self and two other people who were with me and transported us to Temple University Hospital.

COOPER: It's got to be so bizarre to -- I mean one moment your on train doing your regular routine and the next year outside of this train having live through this crash and your running down the train tracks.

RIVERS: Right. You know, the shock hasn't really kind of set it, I don't really necessary believe that, you know, this actually happened but I -- it was just the adrenaline rush that came with it and my elbow -- it didn't start hurting until maybe about 15 minutes after everything happened on, you know, once I started to calm down a bit.

COOPER: Yeah a lot of times adrenaline will mask pain and then it's only later that you start to realize you've been injured. Kate, thank you so much to talk to us, I'm so glad your doing better and I just wish you well and thank you very much.

RIVERS: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Kate Rivers. Coming up, speed of 106 miles per hour the treacherous curve, that speed limit of 50, we're going to take closer look at what exactly that means next what it looks like we're be right back.



COOPER: Frankford Junction here in Philadelphia where the Amtrak train went off the tracks last night, it was the site of another train disaster more than 70 years ago. I want you to take a look at some of these pictures, this is back in 1943, a train after more than 500 people went on board, went off the tracks killing 79 of those people. As investigators look at last night's derailment, the NTSB has announced the train was traveling 106 miles an hour last night, as you know more than twice the speed limit of the curve the train was on the time. Tom Foreman joins me now with more about what that type of speed means and that type of track configuration?

TOM FOPREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Anderson investigators knew to look at excess of speed early on because of things like this surveillance video. If you watch the train rushing by up here and you know the link of the locomotive in some of the cars, you can compare them to a fixed point and calculate that it was going much faster than shouldn't been going just 200 yards short of the point where it crashed.

Now, why does that matter? Let's bring in the model of the train and talk a little bit about that. The locomotive on a train like this is actually extremely heavy, about 97metric tons, that's pushing up toward a quarter million pounds there.

If it is operating at the correct speed at about 50 miles an hour as it should had been in this area, all of the physics here will keep it on the track even though there is force being exerted toward the outside of the curve, just as it would be if you went around the corner in a car, but you push this up to 100 miles an hour and you start putting much more force toward the outside there. Now, if the center of gravity up here is low enough with all that weight this might stay on the tracks but what about all those passenger cars back there. The physics maybe very different in this area because of the center of gravity and how it's riding down the rails.

We know that because some of the passengers describe feeling like it was flying up off the rails and because we've seen it before in Spain, this train was suppose to be going 50 miles an hour it went more than 100 a miles an hour and as it comes around you, you can see the car start being slang off the track back there behind the locomotive and then it is pulled off by them. All of that Anderson is why investigators knew from the very start here that they had to look very carefully the idea that this train was just going too fast.

COOPER: Yeah and still obviously a lot to learn Tom, thank you Tom Foreman. Investigators have a lot of work ahead a short time ago I spoke with Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB take a look.


[21:20:04] COOPER: Engineer, on a case like this if -- is it correct to say that he has refuse to ask answer question.

ROBERT SAMWALT, NTSB: Well, we haven't even contact him yet so, you know...

COOPER: (Inaudible) by that to pull up your place.

SAMWALT: Yeah. We have not and routinely, Anderson, we would not reach out somebody that in 24 hours of an accident.

We want to give them a chance to condoles and get their thoughts together.

Ideally, we'd like to interview somebody within a few days of the accident.

COOPER: Something like, a blood test though or a breathalyzer, is that something that you would ask the police or the police would automatically do.

SAMWALT: You know, that's the carrier in this case Amtrak is actually required by federal law to conduct this test.

COOPER: So that would have automatically been done?

SAMWALT: That should have been done and I have no reason to believe it was not done.

COOPER: OK. At this point, it's very early hours, obviously, in this kind of investigation, where are you at, what were you doing now, is the train still there? Has it already been moved I know the track has been released to Amtrak orders?

SAMWALT: Yes, most of the cars, all but three cars -- rail cars have been moved. They've been moved to a secure facility so that we can conduct a detailed examination of those. The two remaining cars are there because we, tomorrow, we want to do a 3D laser scan of that so that we can go back and study and them write detail after we (inaudible).

COOPER: In terms of recovery efforts, do you know -- has everybody been accounted for who was on the train?

SAMWALT: You know, I'm going to sound impersonal because we care for everybody that's on...

COOPER: That's why you work...

SAMWALT: That's right. We care everybody but that's not our lane. We were the investigators for the accident and the office of emergency management of Philadelphia would be the one that would be able to answer those questions.

COOPER: I'm not going to ask you to speculate about what happened but at the end of this, we did come out and say 106 miles an hour, the train was traveling and the emergency brake was applied I think three or four seconds before the crash bring it down to I think about 102 miles per hour?

SAMWALT: That's right, yes.

COOPER: I mean there are only a certain number of reasons why a train would be traveling that fast. It could be a runaway train, it could be an engineer not paying attention, the safety mechanism which are in placed else where, it does not exist in this part of the track?

SAMWALT: That's right. Engineerically (ph), that's called past the train control, Amtrak calls it ACES, that's the name of their...

COOPER: Is that something on the train itself or on the track itself? SAMWALT: It's depends whether or not it's the ACES system of the positive train control system, PTC is what Congress has mandated by the end of this year to be installed. It's a GPS play system so it knows where the train is as what the signals are signaling.

COOPER: And it can actually, if there was present here, it could actually automatically slow the train down?

SAMWALT: Absolutely, that's the intent of the one of the four functions of positive train controller is to -- is to prevent derailment due to over speeding.

COOPER: We know a lot about how the NTSB works in with plane crashes, how do you go about, I mean, what are the next step for the next several days, I know your investigators will probably be on the site here for a week or so, but obviously the investigation goes on a lot longer than that.

SAMWALT: It doesn't ended, and when I say that we're on scene for, is to collect the perishable evidence. That's the information that can blow away with the passage of time like the train cars, they are being moved, the rail would be rerailed, witness interviews, or survival interviews, those are things that can change overtime.

So we want to get here and collect as much of that as we can so that we leave here in about a week, really, have what we need or have a plan for obtaining everything that we know.

COOPER: Is there a commonality in the train crashes that the NTSB investigates and I know you investigated a number of them just in this year alone. Is there -- are there common denominators or things that you particularly look for?

SAMWALT: Well, the actions that we've seen this year, don't seem to have common denominators with this particular one, but December the 1st of 2013, there was a derailment with Metro-North up in the Bronx and it was a situation where the train was going too fast into a turn and it derailed and claimed four lives. So, there's commonality there, and the reason I mention that commonality is because positive train control will prevent that type of an accident.

That's why the NTSB is so interested and it that's why Congress has mandated it.

COOPER: Mandated it for the end of this year but there are some who've already pushing for an extension of that at 2020, I read.

SAMWALT: There are efforts to extend that various dates, various bills passing out there, seven, 2017, 2018, 2020, there are couple of bills out there.

COOPER: It will be interesting to see if this incident and the others this year make any change in that. Robert Samwalt, I appreciate you're taking the time (inaudible).

SAMWALT: Anderson, it's great to be here. Thank you very much. COOPER: I'm sorry to disturb your time.

SAMWALT: I agree. Thank you so much.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

Well, obviously this derailment has raised a lot of questions about how safe train travel is in general. Joining me now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Safety Analyst, David Soucie, and John Goglia, former NTSB National Transportation Safety Board Member.

John, so we know the train was traveling a 160 miles per hour before the turn, quite a few miles an hour slower before it actually hit while it was going to through the turn, a lot of an answered questions.

[21:25:08] What are the factors that you as an investigator would want to be looking at right now?

JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD MEMBER: Well, you know, a lot of a 12 minute side of the station to be going that fast, I do want to know -- in the record it should ell us that, just what the throttle setting were, did he go full throttle when left the station, how do we get that fast in this short period of time?

There is probably people that have already stopped and to look at the performance of that the locomotive which we published and to see if it's capable of pulling those trains in that distance, that's speed, or what do you have to do to get there? That's one piece.

There's going to be people looking at the electronic control of the train to see, did we have a runaway train? Was it the acceleration not under the operator's control?

Now, the...

COOPER: And that could be determined?

GOGLIA: Yes that could be determined. And, you know, these locomotives today, many computers, there's computers are all over them, warning systems and we have a memory on these computers, not designed to be part of a investigation but if you have nonvolatile memory, it's going retain whatever settings it had, data it contained after the power was removed.

So that's another possible source of information that the NTSB can use to tell the actions of the operator in this 15 minutes or less period of time.

COOPER: John, can the engineer decide not to answer any questions for the NTSB or obviously for police, I mean he apparently now has a lawyer, don't want to answer questions with police today, if the NTSB goes to him tomorrow, they ask him questions, does he have to answer?

GOGLIA: No, he doesn't. We still have a free country here. So can take the fifth, he can refuse to answer, of course it doesn't look good for him and it doesn't look good for Amtrak, but yes he can refuse to answer questions.

COOPER: And John the fact that the engineer pulled the emergency brake before the train derailed, what is that that tell you?

GOGLIA: Well, it makes strongly suspects to the may not have been alert as we left the station.

You know, that's the scenario that we have in New York not too long ago where the sleep apnea problem really (inaudible) in that conductor.

So, those are questions that will have to be asked and answered and, you know, hopefully, this individual will have a change of heart and tell the story.

COOPER: Jeff if it's determined that the engineer, Brandon Bostian is at fault, does it become a criminal investigation at that point?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I'm sure it already is. This is definitely a criminal investigation and there is a history here. You know, several people have mentioned that terrible crash in the Bronx in 2013 where the engineer William Rockefeller had sleep apnea and that was clearly the cause of the accident that took four our lives. That ultimately did not end in a criminal prosecution, the Bronx District attorney decided there was not enough evidence to pursue a manslaughter case.

But earlier, in 2003, there was a Staten Island Ferry accident where 11 people died. A really awful, awful accident and there was a manslaughter prosecution against the pilot of the Ferry and he got 18 months in Prison.

So, you know, these are definitely worthy of investigation but whether there is a case that comes out of it, certainly we can't know at this point.

COOPER: And David, if it comes, I mean it comes -- I mean it comes to passenger safety on trains, there was a lot of talk about putting measures in place in 2007, what happened to that?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well the measure that in 2007, what we discussed here and in the U.K. were to put seatbelts on trains and some of the things that came back on that, we're very surprising, one is that if they do put seatbelts on the trains, the seat are built to be crashed worthy, so the decision was made in this report that they had to decide between crashworthy seats that could put their passenger in danger if it fell forward because it could break your neck as you came forward or put seatbelts in. So it's either crashworthy seats or seatbelts which is curious to me because...

COOPER: What crashworthy -- sorry...

SOUCIE: Well, the crashworthy seat be certainly...

COOPER: Why would a crashworthy seat endanger a passenger? SUOCIE: Well, because if the crashworthy in front of you doesn't break away like they do in airplanes, if you go forward and you hit the airplane seat ahead of you it breaks forward. But in these seats, if they're crashworthy, meaning that they'll sustain themselves in a derailment or the collision then they're solid, they're solid back.

So if you do fall forward with the seatbelt around your waist, you're going to hit your head and it will break your neck.

[21:30:00] So that was what they did in this report.

It's interesting on report though, they never talked about having a breakaway seat as it crash where they seat which, of course, we do know exist.

So I think it's time to revisit those reports. It's been several years. And I think it's time to look at it again with new technology.

COOPER: David, I...


COOPER: Please, go ahead.

GOGLIA: All right. I think it's important that we do take a step back and look at the inside of a passenger rail car, the same way will you look at aircraft.

It's a system. It's not just the seatbelt, it's not just a seat, it's not just the floor tracks, it's the entire capsule if you will. And that we have to design that capsule for survivability.

SOUCIE: Including the windows for escapability as well afterwards, John. That's a good point.

COOPER: It's a good point to leave on, John Goglia, I appreciate it, David Soucie, Jeff Toobin as well.

Just ahead, survivors describing the terrifying moments after the train hurdled off the track plus the injuries that many of them sustained.


COOPER: Welcome back. We are live tonight from Philadelphia. We're just over 24 hours ago, Amtrak train 188 flew off the track as it headed into a curve about 106 miles per hour, far too fast more than twice the speed limit.

Now, seven people are confirmed dead, more than 200 were injured. Some people are still unaccounted for. Tonight, their families obviously, desperately waiting for word that they are safe.

Officials have now expanded the search area. The concern being that some passengers may have been ejected from the train. That's how intense the impact of the crash really was. [21:35:00] CNN Sunlen Serfaty has a lot more tonight. Take a look.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the survivors of Amtrak Train 188, it was a moment of chaos and horror.

JANNA D'AMBRISI, AMTRAK DERAILMENT SURVIVOR: I was thrown against the girl next to me, against the window, and people from the other side of the aisle started falling on top of us. So somebody's leg hit the side of my head. The rest of her body must have been in the luggage rack.

SERFATY: Among those killed, 20-year-old Justin Zemser, a midshipman of the U.S. Naval Academy who was on his way home to New York.

ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is a painful day for that midshipman's family, for the entire academy community and for all of those affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

SERFATY: Forty-eight-year old Jim Gaines, a father of two who worked for the Associated Press, Rachel Jacobs, Chief Executive of a small tech company who was heading home to New York. The 39-year old is survived by her husband and two-year-old son. And Wells Fargo Executive Abid Gillani also died in the accident. A company spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.

There were also an untold number of passengers still unaccounted for including Robert Gildersleeve, a 45-year-old executive and father of two from Baltimore. He was going to New York on business.

Temple University provided care for over 50 patients with injuries ranging from minor to severe.

DR. HERBERT CUSHING, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I was surprised that there were -- a few head injuries as we saw and there were many, many patients that had rib fractures.

SERFATY: What is that tell to you?

CUSHING: Lots and lots of rib fractures that there was a high energy crash.

SERFATY: Some of those treated and released from the hospital eventually made it to New York's Penn Station earlier today on another train, while the search for those still missing continues.


COOPER: Sunlen Serfaty joins me now. What can you tell us about the patients still in the hospital? Do you know how many there are and how they're doing?

SERFATY: Well, Anderson, this is just one of six hospitals that the patients were brought to last night here at Temple University Hospital, but they are the closest to the crash site, only three miles away. So they had the majority of the patients.

Fifty-four patients came overnight and as of this evening, we know that half have been treated and then, released but 23 patients remained here including eight in critical condition.

Now, according to the medical director, we know that many of those patients had partially collapsed lungs. He also said pointedly that nearly every patient that came through here in this hospital and that they've seen had some sort of rib fracture.

Anderson, we know that there are three major surgeries scheduled for this hospital tomorrow. Anderson.

COOPER: Sunlen, I appreciate the reporting.

Here in Philadelphia, nearby 30th Street Station, the Red Cross is providing counseling and support for survivors for the derailment. Red Cross volunteers have been helping out since about 10:00 P.M. last night about 30 minutes after the accident. They got here quick.

Joining me now is Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania. Thank you so much, Judge, for being with us.

You know, I was thinking tonight about those seven families who have lost loved ones, and the sadness of this. I mean, it's the last thing anybody would expect, their loved one is on a train and now all of a sudden, they're gone and their lives are forever changed.

Partner (ph) what the Red Cross does so well is help people in this time of grieve and, what do you say to people? How do you help people through?

JUDGE RENEE CARDWELL HUGHES, CEO, AMERICAN RED CROSS OF SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA: A lot of times you listen. I mean, that's really a very powerful healing aspect of letting them talk and get their grief out.

So our volunteers are very special people. They're MSW, psychologists, psychiatrists, people who are trained to deal with grief. And so, they know but a lot of times, it really is listening and letting them emote about someone who is so dear to them.

COOPER: It's not someone who's got a cancer and there's at least some months to prepare for it and say goodbye, its random (inaudible).

HUGHES: It's a form of post traumatic stress disorder. It's a traumatic event, it happens all at one time. And the reaction of people can be very different. Some people will cry, some people become very stored, the reaction runs the whole gamut of human emotions. And so, we have to be prepared to help them work through all of that.

COOPER: And in terms of how long you stay dealing with people, how does that work? How do you determine that? HUGHES: The Red Cross stays as long as it is necessary. This is a slow process with no timeline. We will be there as long as the community needs us. It's what we do.

So we have volunteers who rotate in and out, so that they're always fresh and ready, can deal with this kind of grief. That's how we handle it, you know.

[21:40:00] COOPER: And whenever the NTSB is called, you're mandated that you come as well?

HUGHES: Correct. We are congressionally mandated to care for the families in any kind of mass tragedy. That's not the national level but locally day in and day out, we do the very same thing in communities all across the country.

COOPER: And you would actually train for just recent in last 3 months ago for a train accident.

HUGHES: Correct. One of the things that make the Red Cross so special is that, we think about these things as weird as at sounds, we do think about these things.

So 3 months ago here in Philadelphia, we had an exercise to train our volunteers in the event under derailment occurred because of our infrastructure. So our volunteers knew exactly what to do which is partially why we are able to get here so quickly, we knew what to do.

COOPER: As a sign of your leadership that you -- look, they have the presence of mind to think, you know, "Let's train for this even though it hasn't happened here. Let's train for this". So thank you so much for talking with us tonight.

HUGHES: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

COOPER: Yes. It's a really a love with the (inaudible). Thank you very much.

HUGHES: Thank you so much.

COOPER: I appreciate it.

We're going to talk to a mom and a son who survived the crash with minor injuries. The son went back after making sure his mom was safe got her off the train. Her son, Max Helfman, went back to help other passengers. We'll talk to them ahead.


COOPER: While the passengers on Amtrak Train 188 had little to no know claiming (ph) what was to come in one minute everything seem fine the next day we're hurdling through the air.

[21:45:00] And the chaos that follow some passengers reached out to help others one of them was young man in Max Helfman who was traveling with his mom Joan. After making sure that his mom was safe and OK, Max went back to the wreckage to help other passengers and I spoke to Helfman's a short time ago.


COOPER: First on both, how are you feeling?

MAX HELFMAN, AMTRAK DERAILMENT SURVIVOR: We're hanging in there. It's been a long 24 hours as you can imagine we're hanging in there.


JOAN HELFMAN, AMTRAK DERAIL SURVIVOR: Yeah neither by just (ph) slept for about 36 hours now. A little sore but we're alive and very thankful.

COOPER: Yeah. And, Max, I understand you were in one of the rear cars of the train. If you can, if you don't mind, take us through what happened. As I understand everything was going fine until that -- obviously that the train started to take a turn.

M. HELFMAN: Yeah. Everything was going fine and all of a sudden for about 2 seconds our car started to shake and before we knew it we're off flung up against the window. Our car was on its side and everyone was on the ground. And when car finally stops, I got up and the car was smoking. So everyone's first thought was this car might explode. So let's get everyone out of here.

And there was a door -- it was about -- it was open about 8 inches and it was enough room to squeeze people through it. So our first priority was obviously to get my mom safe so I got here out.

And looking around the car, I saw that there was so many people in much worst condition than I was. I was up. I was able to walk so I just do what I could to get people out of that car.

COOPER: And Joan did you notice the speed of the train at all prior to the crash, it seem like it was going fast because some people have just said they felt like it was going too fast.

J. HELFMAN: I didn't feel that way. It was just -- it was moving. I didn't notice any difference then, you know, the speed we were traveling before, no.

COOPER: And I understand that when derailed, Joan, you went flying and actually flying toward your son. Is that right?

J. HELFMAN: I went flying towards the windows in the side of the car that was going down. And we were seating in the front so there where many large pieces of luggage that one hit my chest, one hit my head, I was covered with all this luggage when my son found me.

COOPER: What is going through your mind in a situation like that, Joan? Is it happening so fast that you don't think or -- can you tell me what it's like?

J. HELFMAN: It was very scary but, you know, I think I started to panic a little bit of my son just kept calling my name and he found me. He got me out and make sure that I got out of the train. And then I could focus better and to see if I could help others as well.

COOPER: And, Max, when you went to help others what was the scene like for you?

M. HELFMAN: I mean, people were everywhere, there was suitcases everywhere, a suitcase is falling on the top of people, the chairs are actually dislodge some of the chairs and actually falling on people. People bleeding from their faces, broken bones, broken legs, broken arms, anything you can really imagine, that's what happened.

COOPER: Well, I'm so glad that both of you are OK and I hope you get some rest, much needed rest. And again, thank you for all you did, I'm sure there's a lot of people who would like to thank you for reaching out to help others in their time of need. Joan and Max Helfman, thank you so much.

J. HELFMAN: Thank you so much, Mr. Cooper.

M. HELFMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: It is so great to hear people who in their hour of need, in that moment of need, reach out to help others, to help complete strangers.

The deadly Amtrak derailment here in Philadelphia, it's the latest in a string of deadly U.S. rail accidents. We're going to dig deeper on that next, stick around.



COOPER: The deadly Amtrak crash here in Philadelphia has put a focus back on train safety and the nations aging infrastructure.

In absolute numbers, trains derailments and passenger deaths are very rare considering the tens of millions of people are traveled by train every year. That's said, yesterday, as Amtrak crash was one of dozens that happen every year, dozens.

CNN Suzanne Malveaux, tonight digs deeper.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tuesday's Amtrak crash is just the latest in a string of horrifying accidents on U.S. rails.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, in a blink of an eye, I went from one side of the train to the other side of the train.

MALVEAUX: According the Federal Railroad Administration, on average, there has been 31 Amtrak train derailments a year of burying degrees since 2006. So far, there have been nine this year, fire to the most recent incident.

And while Amtrak owns and operates about 80 percent of the 457 miles of track between Washington and Boston, called the Northeast Corridor, some of the most recent fail of crashes had involved commuter trains operated by others.

In February, just north of New York City, a Metro-North commuter train slammed into a vehicle that was stopped on the tracks, killing the driver and six commuters.

In December 2013, federal safety officials who say, a Metro-North train jumped the tracks in Bronx, New York, as it barreled around a curve traveling three times the posted speed, killing four.

With more than 11 million passengers traveling along the northeast corridor between Washington and Boston each year, it has become one of the busiest, most complex and technically advance rail systems in the world.

Engineering Professor George Bibel says, well, traveling by train is largely safe. Passenger would be concern about the state of the tracks than speeding engineers.

GEORGE BIBEL, PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA: Well, most derailments are caused by equipment error, rail problems are a common one, derails can fracture from metal fatigue, or they can move around and shift or anything else that moves, common ones are wheels, bearings and axles.

[21:55:00] MALVEAUX: Coincidentally, the side of Tuesday's crash in Philadelphia is in the same area where the nation saw one its deadliest train accidents in history.

In 1943, a train traveling from Washington to New York went off the tracks killing 79 people.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN Washington.

COOPER: It so awful. We'll be right back with more.


COOPER: Well, that's it for me tonight on 360. Thanks for watching.

Our coverage continues right now though with Don Lemon.