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Two Dead And 70 Injured In Amtrak Train Derailment; Coldest Super Bowl LII Aired 6-7a
Aired February 4, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: In the breaking news this morning, an Amtrak Train with more than 140 people on it has crashed into a CSX freight train. This happened in South Carolina.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And we are just getting more, that at least two people are reported to have died. This is according to the local sheriff after the engine derailed along with several passenger cars. The three area hospitals we know are treating victims, but this happened earlier this morning, about 2:35 in Cayce, South Carolina, which is just near Columbia. The Amtrak Train had 139 passengers onboard, eight crewmembers. And this was a route between New York and Miami.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in now Derrec Becker, the Public Information Officer for South Carolina Emergency Management. Derrec, good morning to you. And what can you tell us about what you learned about what caused this crash and, of course, the injuries and fatalities?
DERREC BECKER, SOUTH CAROLINA EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: As you're aware, we were not the agency that would determine the cause, that of course would be the transportation investigators with the federal government. But right now, what I can tell you is that State Emergency Management were really supporting our local first responders. It just so happened that this incident occurred about a mile away from the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center, so we're able to support them with whatever they need.
We can't confirm at this point from Lexington County that there are two fatalities from this incident. A number of people were transported to the hospital, more than 50 at this point, of course, those numbers are those initial reports.
We've established the shelter at one of our local middle schools for the additional passengers so they have some place warm and can have any of their needs met at this point. But right now, it's still a very much an active and ongoing scene.
BLACKWELL: So, Derrec, it's difficult to tell from the single photograph we have here from Lexington County, but how close to a population center, was this an intersection in a city did this crash happen? BECKER: Sure. Well, it has happened in a relatively rural area but
it's an area that's seen a good bit of growth over the last few years. I mentioned it's right near South Carolina Emergency Management headquarters. It's also near the State Farmers Market. There is a major interstate that runs near their I-26 and I-77, but it happened right near at general area as to where a lot of trains go through there. There is really not a lot of opportunity for them to come in contact with other vehicle like motor vehicles and that sort of thing.
So, we've never really had an incident like this at this area before, so our focus right now is on the passengers on that train and making sure everyone is OK.
PAUL: Derrec, I have read a report that there are walking wounded -- people who are wounded and walking down the tracks. What can you tell me about the theme there?
BECKER: We have -- I can't confirm that. We have no reports of that at this point.
PAUL: OK. Do you -- what do you know about what's happening at the scene?
BECKER: Right now, at the scene, they are working, trying to ascertain any injuries that there are any additional passengers, they are going to transport them to the shelter that's been established by the Red Cross and the Department of Social Services. Right now, the instant command is looking at making sure everything around the area is OK and we're still in the initial stages of this. So, this is probably going to be something that occurs for much of the day.
PAUL: Derrec, do you happen to know how many passenger cars derailed?
BECKER: Approximately 140 passengers who were on the train, we believe it was a regular route from New York to Miami.
[06:05:00] PAUL: Right. But do you know how many passenger cars derailed? Do you know -- yes.
BECKER: Cars, no, not at this point.
BLACKWELL: Of course, the priority here is for those who we injured and the people who were onboard, but as it relates to that freight train, do we know if there is any hazardous concern around that area?
BECKER: There is no hazardous concern at this point. That's also one of the things that the crews with Lexington County Emergency Services is trying to determine. It appears that everything in that regard is OK. I want to stress again there is no sort of hazard as a result of this train in terms of any sort of chemicals. There has been a diesel leak and our state health agency is responding.
PAUL: All right. What can you tells us then about how you move forward? You were talking about these three hospitals that are taking in those injured. We hear 50-plus injured. Is that the latest number?
BECKER: Yes. At least 50 people have been transported to the hospital, reporting everything from minor cuts to broken bones. We are still trying to get a better handle on the number of people that are actually being transported to the hospital. Of course, we'll have medical services established at the shelter that we put up for the passengers so that they can have some place warm, to have any unmet needs met while they are there. One of the things that we're trying to determine right now is a better idea of any type of information for them in terms of family members and that sort of thing.
BLACKWELL: Do we know that everyone has been removed from that train? Is there a search in there right now?
BECKER: At this point, we don't know that. At this point, that's one of the things we're doing because this is happening. So, soon, we're in the process of transporting people to the shelter at this point.
PAUL: Can you give us a sense, Derrec, if it's happened at 2:35 in the morning, how quickly were emergency personnel alerted to this, how quickly can things move in that time of the morning?
BECKER: That's one of the things that would really be better from the local first responders. Relatively quickly, in terms of that first 911 call and they can get out there in a matter of minutes.
PAUL: Alrighty. So, just to recap here, you know, wait a minute, we're just hearing, I believe, two people have been killed, that's -- and I'm sorry, we're just getting -- we're just getting more than people, I apologize, three people have now died in this train crash, if you are just joining us this morning, this crash between the Amtrak Train and a CSX train, a freight train, passenger cars did derail, we do not know how many derailed there in South Carolina. This is outside Columbia.
But you can see the number on your screen there. If you have questions, if you are trying to get a hold of somebody who you know to have been on that train, please call that number, Amtrak's number, 8005239101, and you'll be able to get some more information.
[06:10:00] BLACKWELL: And we just received a statement in from Amtrak just a few minutes ago. I'm going to read it for you. Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami, came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 am Eastern time in Cayce, South Carolina. The lead engineer -- engine, rather, derailed as well as some passenger cars. There were eight crewmembers and approximately 139 passengers with injuries reported.
People who have questions about the passengers on the train can contact -- and this is the number that Christi just read for you -- 18005239101. Our local authorities are on the scene responding. More information will be provided as available, of course. As you see at the bottom of your screen now from an official three people killed in this train accident.
To give you some context, that would put it into the top three, trying at third for the worse train crashes as it relates to fatalities tying it back in the end of 2017 with that train crash that happened in Washington State. Again, more than 50 people injured taken to local hospitals and there is shelter that's been set up at a middle school nearby. This is happening in the Southwestern suburb of the state capital there, Columbia, South Carolina.
PAUL: Mary Schiavo, CNN Transportation Analyst and Former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation is with us now. So, Mary, as you take a look at this, it's happening in the middle of the night, 2:35 is when this crash happened. Tell us what your thoughts are as we look at where we go from here.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, unlike the crash, the Amtrak crash (inaudible) was with a vehicle on the track (inaudible) a number of responders. This is different because it collided with a CSX train, so this crash will undoubtedly reopen the discussion about positive train control. That is, of course, computerized equipment that has to be on the train and the track and would give the train real-time information about other things on the track.
So, at this point, we don't know if the CSX is moving or if it's been parked on the track, but that will raise a lot of questions about the signaling, what they were able to see in those dark hours of the morning, but most importantly, again, positive train control because this is exactly one of the things that positive train control is supposed to prevent.
This is a very populated area. It's also near Fort Jackson. Lots of folks will recognize that name, a lot of soldiers go to basic training there. And the train stopped also in Orlando, so this is a popular way for people, vacation and families to get to New York through Virginia and North Carolina, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia and then into Orlando. So, it's very popular route, a good route for Amtrak, about 240,000 people a year are on this route. So, it's very important to train (inaudible).
PAUL: Hi, Mary Schiavo. Thank you so much. We just once again want to update you really quickly. Three people now have died and more than 50 are injure, many at hospitals at this hour after an Amtrak Train crashed with a CSX freight train in Cayce, South Carolina outside Columbia.
We do know that there are obviously people on the scenes as they tried to make sure everybody is off of that train and get them to a shelter that's been set up in the middle school.
BLACKWELL: And, of course, the number at the bottom of your screen, if you have concerns potentially about having a loved one onboard this train, the number provided by Amtrak, 18005239101. We will get more on the breaking news that's happening in South Carolina and take a quick break. We'll be back at a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning, at least three dead and
more than 150 injured, that information from Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management division there after a train crash in Cayce, South Carolina. This is a suburb of Columbia South Carolina, happened about 2:35 this morning.
Now, those numbers on your screen, three killed, more than 50 injured. We want to make sure that you understand. In this phase of breaking news situation, so soon after a crash like this, those numbers could fluctuate, but the latest number we received is three dead and more than 50 injured and still a search withhold potentially on the train for people who may still be onboard.
PAUL: Because, think about it, this is less than four hours ago that this crash, this Amtrak Train crashed into a CSX freight train, we do not know if that CSX train was moving but the engine derailed on the Amtrak Train along with several passenger cars. We know there are three area hospitals who are treating victims there, a shelter has been set up at a middle school, but Cayce, again, is near Columbia, South Carolina, and this train was running between New York and Miami. It's a relatively rural area that it crashed in here but believe it or not, crashes about a mile from the State Emergency Management headquarters, which actually helped them get there in a very quick amount of time.
PAUL: And they were able to really get to those passengers.
BLACKWELL: We are just minutes away from a scheduled news conference there at the South Carolina Emergency Management scheduled for 6:30 am local time there. Of course, we'll get hopefully the latest information there. But this is what we have from Amtrak this morning. Their statement put out, "Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami came in contact with a CSX freight at train around 2:35 am Eastern Time there in Cayce, South Carolina. The lead engine derailed as well as some passenger cars. There were eight crewmembers and approximately 139 passengers with injuries reported. People who have questions about passengers on the train can contact us at 18005239101."
Local authorities who were on the scene responding, more information will be provided as available. Of course, we'll keep that number up on the screen throughout the morning. We'll keep it up several times so that you can get some information there. We know that there is a shelter that's set up at a local middle school for people who were onboard the train who fortunately did not have injuries will be there, but again, more than at 50 local hospitals.
[06:20:00] PAUL: And everything from broken bones, Derrec Becker had told us, to some bumps and some scratches, do not know how serious all of those injuries. So, Mary Schiavo, CNN Transportation Analyst and former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation with us live. Mary, you were talking about positive train control. Remind us what that is, what it does, how it works. SCHIAVO: Positive train control is a computerized system that was
actually mandated by Congress and by the Federal Railroad Administration to have been on all trains about a year or two ago, but they keep it in extensions, it's a (inaudible) system for the train companies to install.
But (inaudible) to the onboard computer and then, of course, sensors on tracks which tell the engineers on the train if there's any -- anything, any problems on the tracks up ahead. It will also automatically slow the train if the train is in over speed situation, if it's exceeding the speed limit.
And it's really -- you can think of it just computerizing the tracks in the train so they talk to each other and provide information if there are other trains, other rolling stuff, work hard on the tracks, anything on the track that the track can pick up will be transmitted to the train.
So, it would slow the train down in an emergency situation, if there was another train on the track ahead of it or if there was an over speed situation. What it can't do is it wouldn't have stopped the collision last week where a truck, a garbage truck was crossing a train track when the train was (inaudible) on the crossing.
So, that's the difference between last week's crash and this week's crash and it certainly will remove the debate about that but here comes a situation where -- and it's highly unlikely that Amtrak own that track because it's heavily used by freight trains, and most likely, it's owned by (inaudible).
BLACKWELL: Mary, I'm looking on the Web site here for Amtrak. Checking route 91 here, that it starts in New York, heads all the way down, as we know, to Miami. And it seems like this is a route with -- it looks like dozens of stops that passes through North Carolina. I think we've got the route, we can show you here on your screen.
This would be a route that would be so heavily traveled although according to Amtrak, there's a new schedule that started on January 8. Something like this could happen on something that is apparently so heavily traveled.
SCHIAVO: Well, yes, it is, but again, Amtrak doesn't own the track (inaudible) agreement that it does (inaudible) most likely not (inaudible) the other, you know, tracks by other companies in order (inaudible). So, when the Congress mandated the positive train control, it is certain (inaudible) system that should be installed and would have prevented this I think had it been installed. It's a big undertaking but (inaudible) so while this train is very popular (inaudible).
Here, this is just south of Columbia. It's near the intersection road to Charleston, that's the highway and a highway that also goes to Charlotte going to Carolina. So, while this is is a rural area, it's really not, it's an immediate crash site, there are large cities all around there. So, you know, while this is an area that was slated to get positive
train control soon, I doubt it because Amtrak has these several -- you know, two or three trains a day through there and has the 91 southbound and a 92 north. The mirror image of this (inaudible).
PAUL: OK, Mary, I think we're having a hard time with your audio here. I want to see if we can readjust that and solidify it a little more. And while we do that, there is a statement now from CSX and I want to read that to you. They say, this morning at approximately 2:30 am, an incident involving a CSX train and an Amtrak train occurred in Cayce, SC near Dixiana Road and State Route 26. Reports of injuries have been confirmed. An emergency response plan has been activated to provide full support. Lexington County authorities have been notified and are responding to the incident. Additional information will be made available as details of the incident are confirmed. Again, that is the statement from CSX. We just read you a couple of minutes ago the statement from Amtrak.
Fluid numbers here, two people have died. I bet it's what's confirmed at this hour. Two people have died and 50 more -- well, actually 50- plus, more than 50 have been injured in this train collision that happened outside Cayce, which is right near Columbia, South Carolina.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I think we've got this photograph. Let's put the photograph back up on the screen that we just received this from Derek Pettaway. This is giving us the first look of what appears to be one of those derailed train cars as we got the information from Amtrak.
Now, we know that the engine and several cars derailed, we don't know how many of those cars, but this being the first picture coming in of this accident that happened about -- this crash that happened almost four hours ago now and showing one of those derailed cars as we get more information' and again, we're expecting a news conference in about 10 minutes or so, fewer than 10 minutes. We will bring you the latest that comes from that. We'll take a quick break. More on the breaking news out of Cayce, South Carolina in just a moment.
BLACKWELL: Our breaking news this morning, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management, at least two people are dead, more than 50 injured at hospitals after an Amtrak Train with more than 150 people onboard crashed into a CSX freight train. This was in South Carolina -- Cayce, South Carolina.
PAUL: We want to show -- yes, and we want to show you some of the pictures that -- one of the pictures that were just getting in, one of the only pictures at this point. You can see there, one of those passenger cars that has derailed, we're told several passenger cars, in fact, are off the tracks, three area hospitals are treating those victims and we did just get words from the sheriff that all passengers are off of that train.
And this happened about four hours ago, 2:30 in the morning in Cayce, South Carolina. The sheriff reporting out of Pine Ridge South Carolina accounted about 2,200 residents there, and this train was running between New York and Miami at the time.
BLACKWELL: And we just got up the phone with Derrec Becker of South Carolina Emergency Management. Here's what we learned from that conversation.
BECKER: As you're aware, we were not the agency that would determine the cause. That, of course, would be the transportation investigators with the federal government. But right now, what I can tell you is that State Emergency Management were really supporting our local first responders. It just so happened that this incident occurred about 1 mile away from the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center, so we're able to support them with whatever they need.
We can't confirm at this point from Lexington County that there are two fatalities from this incident. A number of people were transported to the hospital, more than 50 at this point, and, of course, those numbers are those initial reports.
We've established the shelter at one of our local middle schools for the additional passengers so they have some place warm and can have any of their needs met at this point. But right now, it's still a very much an active and ongoing scene.
BLACKWELL: So, Derrec, it's difficult to tell from the single photograph we have here from Lexington County, but how close to a population center, was this an intersection in a city did this crash happen?
[06:30:00] BECKER: Sure. Well, it has happened in a relatively rural area but it's an area that's seen a good bit of growth over the last few years.
I mentioned it's right near the South Carolina Emergency Management headquarters. It's also near the state farmers market. There is a major interstate that runs near there, I-26 and I-77.
But it happened right near a general area as to where a lot of trains go through there. There is really not a lot of opportunity for them to come into contact with other vehicle, like motor vehicles and that sort of thing. So we have never really had an incident like this at this area before, so our focus right now is on the passengers on that train and making sure everyone is OK.
PAUL: Derrec, I had read a report that there are walking wounded, people who are wounded and walking down the tracks. What can you tell me about the scene there?
BECKER: We have -- I can't confirm that. We have no reports of that at this point.
PAUL: OK. What do you know about what is happening at the scene?
BECKER: Right now, the scene, they are working, trying to ascertain any injuries, if there are any additional passengers they're going to transport them to the shelter that has been established by the Red Cross and Department of Social Services. Right now, the incident command is looking at making sure everything around the area is OK and we are still in the initial stages of this so this is probably going to be something that occurs for much of the day.
PAUL: Derrec, do you happen to know how many passenger cars derailed?
BECKER: Approximately 140 passengers were on the train and we believe it was a regular route from New York to Miami.
PAUL: Right. Do you know how many passenger cars derailed? We knew --
BECKER: No, not at this point.
BLACKWELL: Of course, the priority here is for those who were injured and the people who were on board.
BLACKWELL: But as it relates to that freight train, do we know if there is any hazardous concern around that area?
BECKER: There is no hazard concern at this point. That is also one of the things that the crews with Lexington County Emergency Services is trying to determine. It appears that everything in that regard is OK.
I want to stress, again. No sort of hazard as a result of this train in terms of any sort of chemicals. There has been a diesel leak and our state health agency is responding.
PAUL: All right. What can you tell us then about how you move forward? You were talking about the three hospitals that are taking in those injured.
We hear 50 plus injured. Is that the latest number?
BECKER: Yes. The -- at least 50 people have been transported to the hospital reporting everything from minor cuts to broken bones. We are still trying to get a better handle on the number of people that are actually being transported to the hospital.
Of course, we will have medical services established at the shelter that we put up for the passengers so that they can have someplace warm and have any unmet needs met while they are there. One of the things that we are trying to determine right now is a better idea of any type of information for them in terms of family members and that sort of thing.
BLACKWELL: Do we know that everyone has been removed from that train? Is there a search that is happening right now?
BECKER: Not at this point. We don't know that at this point. That is one of the things we are doing because this has happened so soon.
We are in the process of transporting people to the shelter at this point.
PAUL: Can you give us a sense, Derrec, if this happened at 2:35 in the morning, how quickly were emergency -- emergency personnel alerted to this? How quickly can things move at that time of the morning?
BECKER: That's one of the things that would really be better from the local first responders. Relatively quickly in terms of that first 911 call and they can get out there in a matter of minutes.
BLACKWELL: All right. That conversation just minutes ago with Derrec Becker with South Carolina emergency management. The update since that conversation is that we have learned from the sheriff there that all passengers have been removed from that train.
One of the passengers is on the phone with us now. Derek Pettaway.
Derek, good morning to you. First how are you? Are you injured at all?
DEREK PETTAWAY, ON AMTRAK TRAIN WHEN IT DERAILED (via telephone): No, I'm fine. I was just discharged from the hospital about maybe 30 minutes ago just with minor whiplash but I'm fine.
PAUL: With minor whiplash. All right. We are glad that you're OK, Derek.
Can you kind of walk us through what happened? Where were you on the train?
PETTAWAY: We were closer to the rear of the train in one of those sleeper cabins and just when the accident happened. I mean, I was dead asleep and I was awoken by the -- awoken by the impact and then the crew came through really quickly and got everybody detrained in a really calm fashion and then first responders showed up within, you know, 10, 20 minutes.
Everything was pretty -- went well. You know, I don't know the extent of everybody else's injuries but I really hope everybody else is doing well. I don't know a lot of other details other than that.
BLACKWELL: So you were in one of the rear cars there. Is it safe to assume that your car did not -- is not one of those that derailed?
PETTAWAY: It was -- it was off the tracks. It was --
BLACKWELL: On or off? I couldn't -- I couldn't decipher what you said there. PETTAWAY: I'm sorry. It was -- it was off the tracks but not -- it wasn't -- it was not -- it didn't -- it didn't -- there wasn't a lot of damage to the car.
BLACKWELL: So it was off the tracks but still upright?
PAUL: Could you tell from the scene, when you were taken off the train, how many passenger cars may have derailed?
PETTAWAY: It was pretty dark. I really couldn't see anything. Just the ones that we could see were just kind of our car into the back, somewhere half on, half off. The cafe car was the one that looked like it received the worse damage and that is pretty much -- I didn't go to the front of the train so I really can't tell how many other cars were damaged or what the -- what the damage was.
BLACKWELL: You had just minor whiplash. Fortunately, no serious injuries for you but for the people, you could see the people in your car, those maybe you passed. Did you get a look or an idea of some of the other injuries that were there?
PETTAWAY: I mean, the only other thing -- again, most of the people on my car were fine. I think it was just knocks and bruises. It looked like there may have been broken bones but other than that, I didn't see too much.
PAUL: So how -- how was everybody handling this when you were -- when you were getting off the train and emergency personnel was showing up? Kind of help us understand what the scene was like there.
PETTAWAY: I mean, it was -- it wasn't -- nobody was panicking. It was pretty -- I mean, it's 2:30 in the morning. I'm pretty sure everybody was asleep or just quiet. I think everybody is more in shock than anything else but everything was relatively orderly from where I was.
BLACKWELL: Between the time of that impact and when you were escorted off the train, we know there was for a period that they were searching to make sure that they've got everyone off, how long was that window of time between the impact and getting off the train?
PETTAWAY: (INAUDIBLE) time to getting out of the train I'd say it's it took maybe about, I don't know. It's really hard to tell the time, but I would say everybody was off in -- between like, you know, after the impact about five to 10 minutes it took to get our car detrained.
PAUL: Is there -- have you been in contact with your family to let them know you're OK?
PETTAWAY: Yes, I mean, my wife got in contact with her family. They are fine. I've reached out to friends and family. They all know I'm OK. I'm pretty sure they will wake up to my messages but everybody has informed everybody that we are fine.
BLACKWELL: Now, I know there are more important things than what happened at the front of the train, but could you see the area of impact, where the Amtrak train hit or enter -- hit this the CSX train?
PETTAWAY: No. I mean, the only thing you could really see from my vantage point was just the -- it looked like the engine was just on its side. I really didn't see any debris or anything of the actual -- much of the -- much of the impact area.
PAUL: So, Derek, we know that this is a train that goes from Miami to New York. Where were you trying to go? And how far are you? Where are you going to go now?
PETTAWAY: Good question.
We were coming from Philadelphia. We were actually headed to Orlando for vacation. And so now we are here, I think, right outside of Columbia, South Carolina.
And we are here in the shelter right now. We are trying to figure out what we are going to do from here and kind of, you know, what our plans are. So we will chat and figure it out.
So right now, we have no idea.
BLACKWELL: So you're at the -- I apologize for interrupting you. You're at the shelter. This is Pine Ridge Middle School where you are?
BLACKWELL: How many people -- how many passengers there with you?
PETTAWAY: I don't know. I didn't get a good assessment. I just -- I just walked out of the gymnasium. But so far I see maybe about 20 -- 20 to 30 people.
PAUL: And I understand there are Red Cross folks who were there assisting at the middle school?
PETTAWAY: Yes. That is correct.
PAUL: OK. We are so appreciative, Derek, that you took the time to talk to us. I know that it's got to be a bit of a shock.
I assume at that time of the morning people would be sleeping --
PAUL: -- and this is a pretty awful thing to wake up to or quite a jolt but we are glad that you're OK. We're glad your wife is OK. And wish you the very best as you at some point get on your way.
PETTAWAY: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right.
PAUL: Do take good care of yourself. Derek Pettaway there is one of the passengers on the train who talks about the crew being very calm, everything being very orderly after he was taken off that train five or 10 minutes after the jolt he had been sleeping.
And as many people were, he says. But he just could not get a good look since he was towards the back of the train at the impact of this crash at the front of the train and how many passenger cars did, in fact, derail.
But if you're just joining us, quick update for you. Two people have died. More than 50 have been injured in this train crash between an Amtrak train and CSX freight train outside of Columbia, South Carolina. And he was just talking to us from the middle school, Pine Ridge Middle School where they have a shelter set up.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Derek tells us about 20 to 30 people are there. And again, if you believe that there is someone potentially on this train and you know or you want to check in on, the number at the bottom of your screen, 1-800-523-9101. That from Amtrak.
Those 50 people at three hospitals there near Columbia, South Carolina. We are getting more on the breaking news out of South Carolina. This train crash.
We will take a break. We will be back.
BLACKWELL: All right. The breaking news this morning. Two people dead, more than 50 injured and taken to local hospitals after an Amtrak train with more than 140 people on it crashed into a CSX freight train in South Carolina.
Now, right now the -- there is a news conference that is happening with the South Carolina Emergency Management and Lexington County sheriff. We will get the new information from that and bring that to you as soon as we get that in.
PAUL: Yes. We are monitoring that. We know that the engine derailed.
There were several passenger cars take derailed. Three area hospitals are treating those victims but all of the passengers are now off the train. This is one of the first pictures we received as you can see it there with at least one or two of those cars that are off the tracks. This happened about -- just a little more than four hours ago at 2:30 in the morning in Cayce, South Carolina, or Pine Ridge is what they are saying locally there. The train was running between New York and Miami and those folks who are not injured have been transported to Pine Ridge Middle School.
Red Cross is assisting them there as they try now to determine where they go from here. This is a long route. We just talked to one of the passengers who was in one of the trains -- in -- train cars in the back of the train and --
BLACKWELL: One of the sleeper cars there.
PAUL: He said he was going to Orlando from Philadelphia. So they are in the middle of their route and now trying to figure out what to do.
BLACKWELL: We have got Paul (ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Middle school. We also have more than a dozen volunteers and staff that are either on their way here or here right now. Those staff members and volunteers are coming from across the state to assist with this effort.
We have emergency response vehicle that is coming as well that will be at the reception site to provide water and snacks and those sorts of things. And we are going to continue to work with the government partners you see up here with first responders and assist them as the investigation and as the day progresses.
Again, the Red Cross is going to be here for as long as needed. We are going to step in in any way that we are asked to help because, obviously, today is quite a tragic day for so many people and the Red Cross is going to be here to help for as long as we are needed.
BECKER (ph): All right. Any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Any road block at this point?
BECKER (ph): Right now the only roads blocked would be Pine Ridge Drive and it's the one that runs right here next to EMD all the way down to 321.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you characterize the 70 injuries (INAUDIBLE)?
BECKER: I'll let Harrison take care of that for you.
HARRISON CAHILL, LEXINGTON COUNTY SPOKESMAN (ph): So the 70 injuries range obviously in variety. We have anything from small scratches and bumps to more severe, broken bones. So they kind run the gamut in between that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are they non-life-threatening?
CAHILL (ph): That at that time I don't have that information but I can get that information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you go over again the basics what happened here? The hours (INAUDIBLE) the very beginning just so I have the details? What happened this morning?
CAHILL (ph): Yes. So there was a train collision and derailment near Charleston Highway and Pine Ridge Drive between a freight train and a passenger train. When we arrived on scene, we began assisting passengers off of that train.
At this time, there are no passengers on the train. It's very important to put that out. There were about 70 passengers that were transported to local area hospitals for various injuries.
There were two fatalities, according to the Lexington County sheriff -- or Lexington County Coroner's Office, that has been confirmed. And, right now, we are also asking people that if they have any concerns or want more information, to call Amtrak info line.
That number is 1-800-523-9101. Again, that is the Amtrak info line. That is 1-800-523-9101.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) CSX (INAUDIBLE) Amtrak (INAUDIBLE)?
CAHILL (ph): At that point, I don't have that information -- at this point, I don't have that information. That will probably come out either from CSX or the Lexington County Coroner's Office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you have any idea --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know what direction the trains were traveling?
CAHILL (ph): At this point, no. We just know that they're -- they collided on the tracks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Any idea why they collided?
CAHILL (ph): Not at this time. That will be up to the investigation of CSX and the National -- NTSB.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) hazardous materials in the CSX trains?
CAHILL (ph): There was about -- our hazmat team did respond. We were able to secure two leaks of fuel from the trains. Right now, we are estimating about 5,000 gallons of fuel has spilled.
We have called in DHEC and CSX's DHEC team to secure that leak and we are also assisting in that as much as we can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: But no threat to the greater public (INAUDIBLE)?
CAHILL (ph): No threat to the public at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Derrec (ph), I'm sure every year, you guys must think of 2005 Graniteville any time you hear of a train wreck that immediately comes to mind. Can you talk about the amount of training for those who (INAUDIBLE)?
BECKER (ph): Absolutely. Well, this is not our first train derailment. This -- we've had you mentioned the Graniteville incident in 2005. This is nothing like that.
Unfortunately, we have many more people who were affected directly by this incident. It's unfortunate that we have two fatalities. Our hearts are with those families right now.
We want to make sure right now the focus is on the passengers on that train, that they have some place warm, that any unmet needs that they may have that they're -- those are being attended to. But we do have extensive training and working with our local first responders and our county emergency managers in terms of who calls who, where do you go to get resources? How can we reach out to any of the train companies and so forth?
So you're absolutely right. It's something we look at every single year. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Anything the public can do to help that this point?
BECKER (ph): Right now, stay away from this area. If you were going to come to Pine Ridge for whatever reason, might be best to, you know, delay your trip or your plans for the next couple of hours.
If there is anything that -- any information, call that Amtrak number that Harrison just gave if you -- there's anything that we can do or any information that you might need especially if you have a loved one who was onboard this train call that telephone number and Harrison can give it here directly in just a minute. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How is it going to impact traffic flow? Certain area that is cordoned off?
BECKER (ph): Fortunately, this is a relatively low traffic area in terms of, especially on a Sunday. Highway 321 traffic impact should be minimal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you talk about -- I guess the span of wreckage? Is it quarter mile, half a mile?
BECKER: Yes. That's one of the things we are trying to determine and get more information for you. We'll have all of that -- that type of thing and especially in regards to what the NTSB is doing, what Amtrak will be doing that will all come out a little bit later. OK?
Anything else? All right. We will try to have another briefing as we have more information, but this will be the joint information center, the media briefing center so any official information about this incident will come from right here and, of course, you guys have our telephone number so if anything comes up, just give us a call. OK?
Thank you very much.
BLACKWELL: All right. You've been listening to the latest information coming here from the South Carolina Emergency Management division and Lexington County Sheriff there.
The update here -- the increase of the number of those injured and transported to local hospitals up to 70 now. People -- and the description there, the range of injuries from small scratches and bumps to severe broken bones.
We know that there have been two fatalities reported. We do not know if those are passengers or crew, but this coming from this crash of an Amtrak train. Train 91 into a CSX train there in Cayce, South Carolina.
But you heard the local reference to the Pine Ridge community. We have learned from South Carolina Emergency Management that this is near interstates 26 and 77. If you know the area, several cars, you see one of the photos on the right of your screen, several passenger cars derailed.
We still don't know how many, but according to one of the passengers on the train, Derek Pettaway who we spoke with a few moments ago he was on a sleeper car in the rear of this train. His car -- the car that he was on derailed but was still upright.
PAUL: And as you can see on your right-hand side of the screen, that is one of the first pictures that we have gotten off the scene. This happening just about four and a half hours ago when this train -- these trains collided and derailed. But we do know that they are -- the people who are still there, who were not severely injured, not taken to hospitals or taken to a shelter, a middle school, Pine Ridge where the Red Cross is supporting their efforts there.
You heard the gentleman there talking about he wants to get them warm. They want to get them fed. They want to make sure that they know what to do.
Because now at the end of the day when you think about it, some of these people are stuck in between where they came from and where they were going --
PAUL: -- and they now have to determine how to get to their immediate location. We're going to take a break. We're back in just a moment. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: Breaking news at a moment. Andy Scholes is in Minneapolis.
Andy, good morning.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys.
Super Bowl Sunday and it is the coldest Super Bowl ever. Right now it's negative two degrees out here. And it feels like a negative 20.
Luckily, the game is indoors later today but the biggest concern for officials is getting the 70,000 fans that will be in attendance into that stadium safely. For the first time ever they're actually going to be having remote security checkpoints. People with a ticket can actually go to Mall of America, go through security and check in there and get it for 30 bucks get a ride to the stadium because officials are urging fans here bundle up.
Do what you can to stay warm because you will have to wait in a security line to get into this stadium. But, of course, we got the big game Patriots/Eagles, guys.
Tom Brady looking to win his sixth Super Bowl. No one has ever been able to do that in the history of the NFL.
PAUL: All right. Andy Scholes, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning. Two people are dead, 70 taken to hospitals after an Amtrak train with nearly 150 people on board crashed into a CSX freight train in South Carolina.
PAUL: Now, we just heard from state and county officials at a press conference, the Lexington County Sheriff says, all of the passengers are off that Amtrak train.
This is the picture we have from early this morning, happened about hour and a half hours ago when these trains collided.