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Breaking News

Bronx Train Derailment

Aired December 01, 2013 - 10:00   ET


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: For all of you tuning in to watch Fareed Zakaria GPS, we will bring you that program shortly, but right now, we want to continue with our breaking news coverage of this deadly train crash in New York City. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

At this point, you're looking at live aerials from WABC TV in New York. Here is what we know right now. At least four people have died, at least 40 others injured. This is according to two sources that are close to the investigation. And when you look at these images, it looks like the train came shy of getting into the water.

We know that at least five passenger cars went off the tracks. This all happened right around 7:00 am. Eastern. Again, you're looking at live pictures from WABC-TV.

We also have a crew on the ground. CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson joins me live by phone now.

Nic, from your vantage point and from what you've heard there from investigators, can you tell us what is the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, we can see the rescue workers. As you can see from the helicopter pictures, they still have ladders up against the side of the train.

It appears at the moment that they have taken all the people, at least out of the carriages that are on that side. We're not seeing any work -- rescue workers on the sides of the vehicles at the moment.

That one carriage, possibly the lead carriage, as you say almost in the water, the others behind it crumpled up, lying on their sides.

Many years ago, I was involved in a train accident like this, crashing off the track, the carriage landing on its side. For all those passengers, it would have been a very disorienting experience as the train was literally hurled from the tracks, lying on its side.

We had been able to see at least one person being taken away in an ambulance. HazMat vehicles have been arriving here on the scene.

Right now, the emergency workers are focusing more it appears on the track than it does actually on the carriages. And I think that's the best indication we have at the moment that potentially most of the casualties have been removed. There are some carriages of the train that I can't see from my vantage point, but I'm looking down right on those first one, two, three, four, five carriages that are lying off the track.

The track where they have -- where they are lying is just around the bend. There's no indication yet why the train derailed. My only experience of a train crash was coming -- as the train derailed, coming around the bend too fast.

Impossible to say that this is the situation here, but this train and the carriages lying at the -- just after a bend here.

HOWELL: Nic, stand by. I want to go to a graphic that we have to kind of show our viewers this particular line. We're talking about the Hudson line. Keep in mind this is the same line where a freight train derailed earlier in the summer.

Eight-three million people ride in 2012. A lot of people could have been on that train. Keep in mind, all of this is in advance of Monday; Monday being a very busy travel day as people head back home from Thanksgiving.

HOWELL: Nic, from what you are hearing from investigators there on the scene, is there any indication, and I know it's early here, but any indication on what could have caused this accident, this time?

ROBERTSON: Nobody is giving a reason at this time. The indications, as we look at them, again, this incident took place just after -- what appears to be just after a bend in the track.

There's no indication, from what we can see at the moment, that there was a large amount of debris or a tree, for example, on the track. But, again, this is very early stages in the investigation.

I can see investigators already placing what appear to be some blue markers measuring the area where the train literally ripped up the embankment as the carriages were flung off the track.

So that investigation, very clearly, already on the way, but too soon for us to have any details about it.

HOWELL: Nic Robertson, please stand by. Thank you for your reporting.

Now, I want to go CNN Supervising Producer Jon Auberbach. Jon, we understand that you live in New York, but commute to D.C. and, certainly, with your role here at CNN, you have a great deal of knowledge about transportation and travel regulations.

What you can you tell us about this particular line?

JON AUERBACH, CNN SUPERVISING PRODUCER (via telephone): Good morning, George. How are you this morning?

Yes, this is actually -- when I worked and lived in New York, this was my train station, very familiar with it. It's part of Metro- North's railway which is basically the artery between New York and suburbs, Westchester and Connecticut.

This particular line is called the Hudson Line carries about 18,000 people a day during normal work days. It runs as far north as Poughkeepsie, which is about 90 minutes north of the city, run down the Hudson line, hence the name.

And right at this point where we are, Spuyten Duyvil, which is part of the Bronx, it makes a left turn and then sort of hugs the Harlem River going down to New York.

This tight turn has its name, Spuyten Duyvil is actually Dutch from the original Dutch settlers for spewing devil because of the current. This is where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers meet. Obviously, now it's a problem for trains.

As you mentioned earlier, there was a freight train accident here in the past year-and-a-half. And Metro-North itself is having a bit of problem with this particular station and company-wide.

You may remember back in the summer there was a collision of two Metro-North trains in Connecticut. About 70 people or so were hurt, no fatalities. Of course, there were about 250 people on those two trains on that day, but that was rush hour.

Thankfully, this was an early Sunday morning so the numbers should be less.


HOWELL: Jon Auerbach, thank you for your reporting.

And Nic Robertson, the same. We appreciate your reporting there on the scene.

Again, the latest to our viewers that four people -- at least four people have died in this train derailment. At least 40 others may be injured.

This is a story, a situation we continue to monitor here on CNN. We'll bring you the very latest as we get more information.

Now, for those tuning in to Fareed Zakaria GPS, we go to that right after this break.