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Train Derails in New York City; "Fast & Furious" Star Killed
Aired December 01, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning from Washington. I'm Joe Johns. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world.
We begin this hour with breaking news.
At least four people are dead after a commuter train goes off the tracks in New York City.
We're also following the outpouring of grief in Hollywood and beyond after a fiery car crash claims the life of "Fast and Furious" actor Paul Walker.
"RELIABLE SOURCES" will return next Sunday with new host CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.
Let's begin now in New York where emergency crews are still on the scene of this morning's deadly commuter train wreck. At least four people are dead, 63 others are injured. A number of cars went off the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil station, which is in the Bronx, just across the northern tip of Manhattan Island.
Here's one eyewitness CNN affiliate WABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard a screeching noise, you know. I happened to be by the window. I'm on top of the hill. I heard a screeching noise.
And then within seconds, the ambulance and fire trucks started coming past my window. I knew something big happened, because there had to be 50 or 60 trucks coming by, ambulances, everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: For more, let's go to CNN's Alexander Field who's in the Bronx, at the scene of that derailment -- Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Joe, we know that seven cars derailed at the tail end of this holiday weekend. Two of those cars turned completely on their sides and we're told that's where four people were killed. A total of 67 people were hurt, 11 people are in critical condition. The estimate is that there were 100 people riding this train. Important to keep in mind that during the weekday, during rush hours, there would have been more people on the train. It left early this morning before 6:00. It was traveling from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central.
A law enforcement source tells CNN the operator of the train says that he tried to apply the brakes but that the train did not stop. The operator is now being treated for his injuries. We've spoken to witnesses here in the Bronx. They say they heard that familiar screeching sound that a train makes and they heard the horrible crash and this is what they saw. Those seven cars turned on their sides.
It's far too early to speculate on what may have caused this accident on this holiday weekend. Investigators are en route. Hundreds of emergency workers came here to help 100 or so passengers who are onboard the train. But the NTSB is on its way now. They will be look at the track. They'll be looking at the train to try and see what answers they can find. A lot of people are waiting for those answers.
It is important to note, though, that this is a heavily used track along the Hudson. That means, of course, that Metro North Service is indefinitely suspended and so is service from New York to Albany on Amtrak. So, those travelers will have to find another way home this afternoon.
The focus, of course, is on people who are riding on this train. Again, four people killed. And we are told by police that their families, Joe, have not yet been notified.
JOHNS: Alexandra, do we know if all of the passengers and crew who were onboard the train were accounted for by the authorities?
FIELD: Right now, police are telling us they believe they have everyone accounted for. The estimate is that there were about 100 people onboard but they will, of course, continue to look and to search. The preliminary search is done. They believe everyone is accounted for. But there are a lot of people still out here. Coast Guard boats in the water, and a lot of people still circling this train on foot.
JOHNS: And conditions of the casualties. Do we know if there are any people in critical condition?
FIELD: Eleven in critical condition. The numbers again remain fluid right now. Sixty-seven people are hurt. Earlier, the number was 40. Then it moved up to 63. Now, 67.
It's possible that there are some people who were on this train who walked off and thought they were OK, and who are now realizing that they are suffering in some way and do need to be check out.
So, we're keeping an eye on the numbers. But right now, 11 are in critical condition and it the operator of this train is hurt but that he's being treated for those injuries.
JOHNS: This is a heavily traveled portion of track. Can you give us some idea of the delays that this accident are creating?
FIELD: Of course. Very heavily traveled track. Again, it runs along the Hudson River. This is a train going from Poughkeepsie into Grand Central. A popular rail system outside of New York City.
So, if this was a week day, during the rush hour, there could have been hundreds or thousands of people onboard this train and waiting in other trains along the wings here.
So, this will be shut down now. It could take a few hours. It could take a few days before investigators would begin to even think about moving some of the pieces of this train.
Of course, commuters are going to have to find a way around this. Travelers are going to have to realize now and plan ahead and know that there will be delays for them and in some cases, we'll just have to find another way home today. That's the reality of it.
JOHNS: Right. And I think it's also important to mention that this is pretty close to a very big curve and while it's too early for authorities to say what happened and why, do you have any sense as to whether speed could have been a factor in the derailment?
FIELD: Certainly, yes. Too early for us to speculate. It is Spuyten Duyvil. That's the stop where this accident happened. Some of the people who live around here, you know, they have referenced the fact that curve is in the tracks and sometimes they feel trains are going quickly. Sometimes, they say it's speedy devil here.
We can't say if speed was a factor. We only know at this point according to our CNN source, that the train operator said that he tried to apply the brakes and that the train didn't stop. That is to start off this investigation what we're told the operator of the train is saying.
So, you know, witnesses can't really tell us for sure right now whether or not that train was going fast or too fast. It's a question for NTSB, and they are on their way here to try to answer it.
JOHNS: Alexandra Field, there on the scene for us. Thank you so much for that. We'll keep in touch with you and get back to you when the situation warrants.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now at the scene of that train accident. Here's what he told reporters just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: What we do know that four people left their lives today in the holiday season right after Thanksgiving, and they are in our thoughts and prayers. Families have not yet been notified. So, we'll be working on that now.
But let's all say a prayer and remember those people who we lost this morning and their families, and we'll let the first responders do their job. The NTSB will do the investigation. We'll tell you throughout the day what the consequences for service will be and when service will be restored. We need more information before we can make any hard determinations on that.
Again, I want to thank all the first responders who are really doing a fantastic job right now and I want to thank both Commissioner Ray Kelly and Commissioner Sal Cassano for their help this morning. Thank you, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Now, this train that derailed is one of the vital commuter links to the New York suburbs and in this case one of the ones along the Hudson River.
CNN's supervising producer Jon Auerbach has more on that.
And, Jon, it's my understanding that you used to travel on this track very frequently.
JON AUERBACH, CNN SUPERVISING PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes, good morning, Joe.
This was my train station to give you a picture as you said. It runs along the Hudson line. This train left Poughkeepsie at about 6:00 this morning. It would have been due in Grand central about a quarter to 8:00. So, it's just under a two-hour ride.
This particular stop, 20, 25 minutes to midtown Manhattan. So, this was really toward the end of its trip.
As we mentioned, it did occur and train is a straight shot down the Hudson River through Westchester County and into the Bronx, it does sort of hang a left on this curve -- the Harlem River into Grand Central. But, yes, this was my train. It's hard to describe what it was like to stand on that platform and see trains toppled over.
As mentioned, the NTSB is en route, will be here. Again, as Alexandra said, it's too early to speculate if speed was a cause. But we are learning some horrific details about some of the deceased passengers.
One issue that I'm sure will be looked at is the idea of whether seat belts should be on trains. There are no seat belts on these trains. I can tell you between New York and Washington, I ride Amtrak more than anyone should ride Amtrak and it's the same situation there.
But this is right now, this neighborhood is all gathered around. Riverdale is on a hill overlooking the Hudson and the trains are right on the river. Basically the entire neighborhood is out trying to get a peek of what's going on here and also trying to figure out how they're going to get to work tomorrow -- Joe.
JOHNS: Right, Jon. I would imagine that something like this would create a huge mess in the neighborhood for a long period of time because there was another derailment I think of a train carrying trash sometime back in July. AUERBACH: That's correct, Joe. Right at this station it was a freight train that derailed. That caused a major disruption.
And, of course, NTSB is familiar with the Metro north line because they are currently investigating an accident over the summer in Connecticut where two trains actually collided and service was disrupted in that case for weeks.
JOHNS: It appears also that this train came pretty close to the water with just a little bit more energy. A little bit more speed. We could have had an even greater catastrophe.
AUERBACH: I can't speculate about that. But I will tell you standing on that platform in the past, particularly this time of year, you are right on the water clearly exposed. The wind just rips right through there.
So any sort of derailment is very close to water. As a matter of fact, there was a presence of both police and fireboats trying to get a closer look from that angle -- Joe.
JOHNS: Give me an idea, just your judgment, on the Sunday following Thanksgiving about that time of day, would you have expected a lot of people on that train? Would it have been full of people? Or would there have been fewer people on the train because it's still so early in the holiday weekend?
AUERBACH: Well, the Hudson line which this was in general, averages about 18,000 passengers a day. Now, that's a weekday. Weekend tends fractional. And again, this was quite early in the morning. Not the first train out but still early in the morning.
That being said, as any New Yorker can tell you, midtown is a zoo with people coming in to look at the windows and Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and then, of course, people trying to connect either with planes or other Amtrak trains at Penn Station. So again, probably not a full train but perhaps a little more than it would be on a Sunday morning.
JOHNS: You also mentioned that question of seat belts. There are reports that I have seen that a passenger or two could have been ejected.
Anymore on that?
AUERBACH: I believe the fire commissioner made reference to the four fatalities, three of them were not onboard the train, which leads to the question of whether they were ejected or not it seems to be the working theory.
JOHNS: Got it. All right. So, there is certainly a possibility of that. And you -- with your familiarity of transportation issues, why haven't we had seat belts on trains?
AUERBACH: You know, Joe, that's just a question. If you think back to argument of seat belts in automobiles, nobody really thinks twice about them now but at first it was a whole huge issue and civil liberties and what not. So, I think we're a long way from seeing seat belts on public transportation.
JOHNS: And after having two derailments out there, you have to wonder whether residents are getting a little bit concerned about what's going on on the tracks.
AUERBACH: Yes. I think that's a given. It's a given that you are also going to complain about your route to work, and it's just going to be further example of when your fares are going up and the services are being disrupted.
JOHNS: True. Jon Auerbach, he's our supervising producer here in Washington, an avid commuter, I think I also can add.
We have much more ahead on the deadly train wreck in New York City. But there's a lot of other important news today including this morning's big announcement about the government's health insurance Web site. That's coming up next.
JOHNS: We continue to follow this hour's breaking news.
At least four people were killed, 67 injured, when a commuter train went off the tracks in New York City. Officials say at least seven cars of the Metro North Hudson line train went off the tracks. The same tracks are used by Amtrak which has now suspended its service between Albany and New York City.
Dramatic accounts and pictures of the wreck showing up on social media this morning. CNN's Nick Valencia following that part of the story. He joins us live from Atlanta -- Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Joe.
We have been scouring social media since we heard news of the derailment and we've obtained a handful of photographs to share with viewers. The first coming to us from Daniel Cohen and it really reveals a very sort of scale of the crash here. You see those cars turned on its side.
A lot of eyewitnesses we heard from talking about it coming around the bend, coming around a curve there at a relatively high rate of speed.
Another photo coming to us from Terry Tines (ph). This is a closer photo. Another photo from Daniel there.
But Terry Tines shows photos of boats in the water. U.S. Coast Guard as we've been reporting initial reports said that train may have made its way into the water. We know that that's not accurate at this time after more details have emerged. But you see those coast guard boats there.
Also, on Instagram, another user providing us with a bit of a closer perspective of the train. You see cars there on its side. Eyewitnesses that I've talked to, Joe, describe this as deeply unsettling, very unnerving.
And as I spoke to one eyewitness who was just right across the river from this incident, Rebecca Frist Schwartz (ph), tweeted some of the first images we saw from the scene of the crash. She showed -- she told us, Joe, that there were firefighters there. She didn't hear the crash itself but she did say she saw sires, she saw lots of firefighters.
She wasn't close enough to see passengers milling about the train or anyone that was injured. But she says this train goes right through an area where her friends are in a neighborhood and for her it was very clear that something big and bad had happened the moment that she saw those images. The moments she was on her morning walk and saw these train cars on their side.
And we'd like to solicit some tweets or anything from social media accounts from any eyewitnesses out there. We are still looking for anyone who was on the train if you guys have any images or anymore information, feel free to tweet me @CNNValencia -- Joe.
JOHNS: Nick, interested in the perspective from some of these pictures. It appears that people are either shooting down from a high rise building or from trees or from a hill. Do you have any idea where some of those pictures that look like aerials are being taken from?
VALENCIA: Well, this is a residential area that the train was traveling through. When I spoke to Rebecca Frist Schwartz, she says it was scary for her because she travels this area. She has a lot of friends in that area of the Bronx where this train travels through. In fact, a friend she was on a walk with earlier this morning that also saw the crash, or saw the sirens after the crash, I should say, she has a son that lives in the area.
So, for her it was very troubling because a lot of people live in and around the area where this train was traveling through, Joe.
JOHNS: Did you speak to anybody who talked about how fast the train was actually going?
VALENCIA: Alexandra Field was reporting a law enforcement source told CNN that the train operator mentioned that he tried to apply the brakes but that the train did not slow down. Now, that's just an initial report and coming to us from a law enforcement source there at the scene and with knowledge of the investigation.
But you can see just how crinkled those cars are. It's very troubling scene there and one would have to assume that speed was a factor. But as we continue to follow this story and more details emerge, I'm sure we will get to the bottom of how this exactly happened -- Joe.
JOHNS: Looking at live pictures there of the scene of the scene. Actually, some divers in the water -- very cold morning here in the mid-Atlantic -- you would have so suspect they are in dry suits digging around to see and make sure that no one was actually thrown into the water, which certainly would have been a very disturbing situation even in warm conditions.
Thanks so much for that Nick Valencia in Atlanta.
VALENCIA: You bet.
JOHNS: For those who aren't familiar with New York, the wreck happened north of Manhattan Island.
CNN's Samantha Mohr joins us to pinpoint the site of the wreck.
SAMANTHA MOHR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi there, Joe. We're talking about where this is.
You look at Google Map. We have Washington, D.C., Philadelphia. There's Long Island. We'll go into New York here. You can see Manhattan pop up on the map and here is the Hudson River and then Spuyten Duyvil up the Hudson River and where it meets Harlem River is the curve we've been talking about that the train has been going around and has a reputation for often times being a very perilous curve as those trains come around at high speeds.
And the train itself we've seen those train cars kind of dotted along here. This is where the train tipped over. We were talking about the divers that were in the water potentially looking for some victims. The water temperature there was right around 43 degrees. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes in water of that temperature for your body to start to break down and for you to lose your coordination and then after that about an hour or two hours before it is potentially lethal to be in water that temperature.
The air temperature at the time of the incident was right around 38 degrees so it was definitely on the cool side in the area of the accident. In fact, 34 degrees at the time of the accident so it was very, very chilly. So, it was clear though. It was clear, though, and it was with good visibility, and light winds. So, it doesn't appear that weather was a factor in this particular situation.
And as we take a look at the radar around the area, there's a clipper to the north. So, the weather conditions could have been far worse this time of years. In fact, we did have some icy roadways to the north of here that caused a pileup on 290 outside of Worcester.
But most of the active weather well to the north here. So, that was not a concern. So the conditions at the time of the accident doesn't look like weather really would have been a factor here at all. So, hopefully that gives you an idea of how things are set up here where Harlem meets the Hudson.
JOHNS: Thank you for that, Samantha.
We're looking at live pictures of the tracks over where the train actually derailed and just a moment ago we got a picture of the divers in the water. Very bright sunlight but in the water. It's very murky right now and muddy. It must be very slow going for any divers looking for virtually anything this time of day.
We continue to watch the scene as authorities report to us as they can.
I'm being told to go now to Nick Valencia.
Nick, are you there?
VALENCIA: Yes. Hey, Joe.
One quick point to bring up. According to our local affiliate, WABC, interviewed a passenger who was on the train and that passenger said that the train was traveling at a higher than normal rate of speed.
Now, we are working on confirming exactly what caused this crash. Initial reports saying this train was traveling at a high rate of speed. We also saw those images there. There were initial reports that the train perhaps had gone into the water. We know that's not the case right now.
But deeply unsettling images you are looking at now live from WABC, our New York affiliate, those train cars on the side of the heavily traveled rail line. This is a popular train that people take their locally. It's in a residential area.
A lot of people could have possibly heard the sound of this crash. One witness I talked to was surprised she didn't hear the crash looking at the severity and the scale of this derailment. But she said she did see local emergency crews, first responders on the scene. We know that they are still there right now.
Nic Robertson was reporting earlier there was still a situation where there was people perhaps still trapped inside that car. They are working to get folks out of there. Crews there on the ground who are trying to get more details for viewers about exactly what happened. This train derailment early this morning just before it reached -- as it was traveling through Bronx, New York -- Joe.
JOHNS: Sure. It's still too early to speculate as you say about whether the train was moving too fast. But you can just look at the pictures there of those train cars and how close they got to the water and you have to ask yourself whether velocity had something to do with it.
And then the next question would be, why would this train have been moving faster than normal apparently in an area where there had been a previous derailment? So, these are questions that the NTSB investigators are certainly going to be asking as soon as they get to the scene and start digging all of the way through this.
Thanks so much for that, Nick.
VALENCIA: You bet.
JOHNS: Next, more of this hour's breaking news. Dozens of people are hurt. At least four are dead after that commuter train derails in New York City.
We'll be back with the latest after this.
JOHNS: Going back to the Bronx now.
We continue to follow this hour's breaking news. At least four people dead this morning when a commuter train goes off the tracks in New York City. Officials say 67 people are injured including 11 who are in serious condition.
Seven cars of a Metro North train traveling south along the Hudson River came off the tracks. A law enforcement official on the scene and familiar with the investigation says the train operator who is among the injured told investigators he applied the brakes but the train didn't slow down.
A White House official tells CNN that President Obama has been briefed and the president's thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected especially the friends and families who lost a loved one.
There you see pictures from the scene as those train cars lining on their sides. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board on their way to try to unravel what it is that caused this crash.
CNN's Alexandra Field is on the scene now.
Alexandra, what can you tell us? What's the latest?
FIELD: Joe, right now we want to let you know there is still a huge emergency presence on scene. They've been out here for hours. I want to show you what's going on beyond me.
You're looking at the Hudson River over there and you can see the Coast Guard boats have been in the water all morning. Divers have also been in the water. The main priority is trying to figure out whether or not every single one of those passengers who left Poughkeepsie this morning on that short trip to Grand Central Station have been located.
We're told the estimate is that there were probably about 100 people riding the train. Right now we know that 67 people are injured, 11 of them in critical condition. But emergency workers out here are making their rounds around this train and also in the water, trying to make sure that they have located every passenger.
It is a horrifying end to the Thanksgiving weekend certainly for so many people. We have to imagine some of these people were on their way home after celebrating the holidays.
Four people were killed when two of the rail cars turned completely on their sides. In total, seven cars derailed. We're told that the families of the four people killed have not been notified. We also know now that there were three conductors on board this train and one engineer. All four of them have been located. We don't have a word on their condition.
But again, we do know that the person who was operating this train has, according to a CNN source, told law enforcement officials that he did apply pressure to the brakes and that the train did not stop. There is a bend in the track here.
Witnesses say that they heard this happen this morning. They heard a squealing sort of screeching sound. They say at first it sounded similar to what they typically here when the train pulls into the station and then they heard that crashing noise when they came outside.
Again, they saw what we are all seeing now, seven passenger cars off the rails. This is a popular track here. It's a heavily traveled commuter rail track. It is used by Metro North; running along the Hudson River.
If you have ever been on this ride, it's a beautiful ride along the Hudson River. It's really, on a day like today, would have been a pretty beautiful and bucolic sort of ride along the river. It did not end that way, this train turning on its side early this morning and really causing a horrible end to the holiday weekend for so many people here -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alexandra, a bunch of facts in there. You have got a curve; you've got a report that the brakes did not work. So the question of course would be whether speed is a factor or whether the brakes on the train simply failed.
Anybody talking about that right now?
FIELD: Right, when we see this out here, we all want to know right away how and why. Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York's governor, was out here just about an hour ago. He's been briefed on the situation. He took a tour to see the damage here. He's trying to urge everyone not to leap to any assumptions here.
We know that the NTSB will be in charge of this investigation. Their investigators are en route. They'll be taking a look at the train. They'll be taking a look at the track. We expect they'll be here for hours and probably for days before they can come to any sort of definitive conclusions about what may have caused seven cars to come off the track.
But it's the answer that everyone is already searching for. We are seeing some rail workers who were down on the tracks earlier today. They have got their hard hats on, they're working down there alongside with firefighters, police officers, EMTs, who all rushed in this morning when they heard the news that a commuter train had come off the track.
Here's the only silver lining that we see this morning. It's a Sunday. It was an early train. The estimate is that there were about 100 people on this train. Typically this train, which runs into Grand Central Station, could have had hundreds or thousands of people on it. It's a busy commuter line. During rush hour, Monday through Friday, people are jammed in there.
JOHNS: Looking at the pictures here, it is pretty clear that there is going to be a huge mess to clean up and could take days, I would assume.
What's this doing to the train traffic in the area, Alexandra?
FIELD: OK, Metro North, of course, had to immediately suspend their service on its Hudson line, shutting things down between Croton Harmon and Grand Central. At the same time, though, this is a stretch of rail that is used by Amtrak and we know, of course, that this is one of the busiest travel days of the year, a lot of people who were expecting to take the train home after going away for Thanksgiving. So Amtrak says that they also will have to suspend service; that will happen between New York City and Albany. So if you had plans to ride the train from Albany down to New York City, you have got to find another way home right now. No word certainly on when the Metro North or the Amtrak service could be restored at this point.
JOHNS: Alexandra, we just saw a picture a moment ago of what looked like authorities with dogs on leashes, moving around through the wooded area there.
Why would they have dogs on leashes?
Wouldn't you be able to find a body or anything else you were looking for pretty much line of sight?
FIELD: Police told us when they got out here this morning, they did their initial search; they wanted to make sure that they had everyone accounted for. And they did come out and say, yes, in fact, we do believe that we have everyone accounted for.
But they say it is routine in a case like this that they would continue to look around the train and the water, even if it involves bringing in dogs or going into the woods here because you really certainly wouldn't want to miss a person who maybe had gotten off the train or been thrown off the train and was now in need of help.
And we are being told that while there are 67 people who are in that group of peoples who are listed as hurt or injured in some way right now, of course that number could go up. It's possible that we'll see other people sort of wander into emergency rooms as the day progresses, realizing that they have been hurt and perhaps didn't realize it, given the initial shock.
So that number could go up right now; though, 11 people, that seems to be the number that's holding for critical patients at this point.
JOHNS: Alexandra, I know from covering train derailments myself, you are always struck by the first thing you see when you arrive at a scene like this.
Give us a sense of your immediate impression when you got there and took your first look. FIELD: When you see seven cars, seven rail cars that are off the track, you really worry about how many people were on that train, and that's the question that we were all asking each other as we headed up here.
How many people could possibly be involved in something like this?
And again, the only silver lining might be that this was early and that it was a Sunday morning because that train down there, you can see those seven cars stretched out, they could have held a lot more people.
When you look at the estimate, there were 100 passengers on board and you hear that the number of injured is 67. You are obviously looking at the vast majority of passengers who were injured and the only relief is knowing that there were 100 people on the train, not 200, not 500.
But the reality here is that four people were killed when two of those trains turned completely on their side.
And the sight of that is horrifying for people who are out here right now, for the neighbors who say that they heard the squealing and then heard some sort of crash, certainly you can imagine that they stepped out here and they had to have been shocked to see a train this large with seven cars off the track, two of them completely on their side is something that you just don't see, you don't expect.
You hear train derailment and you hope you're going to see one car slightly having jumped a track, not completely off the track in the way you see it right now.
JOHNS: Alexandra, thanks so much for that reporting. Get back to us when you get any more information.
We'll keep bringing you developments on this morning's deadly train derailment in New York City.
Next, we'll hear from a passenger who was on the front car of that train when it flew off the tracks.
JOHNS: New information continues to pour in this morning about that deadly commuter train wreck in New York City. The wreck just north of Manhattan Island killed four people; 67 people are injured, including 11 who are in critical condition.
CNN's Nick Valencia is following the story and the stories people are posting on social media as well as coverage from New York's local media. He has an account from one of the passengers who was on the train, is that right, Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Joe. I've been monitoring the air check for WABC, our local affiliate in New York. And they also have reporters on the scene. They just interviewed a passenger who was on the first car of that train.
You're looking at those pictures there from The Bronx, New York, from WABC. You see that first car just in the lower left-hand portion of your TV, just dangerously close to going into the water there.
Frank Tatulli was on that first car. He spoke to WABC just a short time ago and he talked about just how fast that train was going when it derailed. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANK TATULLI, DERAILMENT SURVIVOR: (INAUDIBLE), the guy was going a little fast on the turns and I just didn't know why, because we were making good time and all of a sudden we derail on the turn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frank, was there any impact or did the train just leave the tracks?
TATULLI: Oh, there was impact. (INAUDIBLE) but also there was impact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I know there was impact when the train left. But I'm saying, Frank, did the train hit anything on the tracks or did it just leave them because it was going too fast?
TATULLI: Oh, it was leaving because it went too fast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Frank, do you take this train often? Have you been on this line before?
TATULLI: I take this train every Sunday morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And you said it seemed by your judgment and it's good judgment because you take this train every Sunday morning, you said it seemed like the train was traveling at a faster rate of speed than it usually does coming into the station?
TATULLI: A lot faster, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot faster. OK.
And when it left the tracks, Frank, are you in one of the cars that we can see from the picture that we're looking at that is on its side?
TATULLI: I was in the first car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first car, OK, I'm -- we're looking at that on our screen, Frank. And the first car almost made it into the water. It just barely stopped. I don't know if you can see you're your vantage point, from where you are. But that train is almost in the water.
TATULLI: No, I just moved up -- they let me move up by the intersection. So I didn't know that. So...
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNS: Now we want to take you live to Commissioner Joe Bruno of the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Mr. Bruno, thank you for joining us. Off the top, can you tell us if there is any update on casualties, number of people injured, or if all of the individuals who were on the train have been accounted for?
COMMISSIONER JOE BRUNO, NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Yes. What we have right now is we have four people who were killed in this incident, 11 more seriously injured; (INAUDIBLE) 26 essentially just took a medical review. So we have 67 people. Those are all of the people we have accounted for.
There are other people on the train, I'm sure, but as far as injuries, there are 67. Most of those -- at least the (INAUDIBLE) about 17 people were distributed to hospitals in the area, in the Bronx area, (INAUDIBLE) Barnabas and Presbyterian.
As far as anyone else, we have the NTSB coming in in about a half hour. They will conduct an investigation to what occurred and FDNY reported earlier that they did a number of searches and they have not located anyone else injured or (INAUDIBLE) or not from this incident.
So I think we have the numbers right now. We won't know finally until we move all these trains and get them back and out of the way but I think we have a pretty good idea that's -- that was reported by Commissioner Cassano a short while ago.
JOHNS: Probably most important for people traveling who were this train this time of day, have you arranged a place for people to contact individuals who may have been on that train?
Is there a way for the authorities to get word to say whether someone was injured, whether they're clear, whether they're accounted for or not?
BRUNO: Yes. Right now on any missing persons issues, especially if they live in New York City, should call 3-1-1. If they live outside of New York City, this is a Poughkeepsie-based train, so there may be people from out of town. They can call 2-1-2-NEW-YORK. And the New York Police Department detective bureau has activated missing persons operations. They can indicate what they have, who they are looking for, what information they want and then they will handle that on a very specific level with those people, so we do have that in action.
JOHNS: We've gotten two reports that we would like you to address if possible.
One, there's been a persistent report that people were ejected from the train.
And there was a second report that the conductor said he applied the brakes and the train didn't slow down.
Can you add to the information on either of those points?
BRUNO: Well, with regard to the speed issue which is what you're talking about in the latter point, MTA President Tom Prendergast -- and we know this as well, that that will be something that the NTSB will look at with the assistance of the police department and the fire department and others and that will be a key point of concern as to whether this train was moving too quickly.
I have no information other than what I just said to you, about whether it was or was not is way beyond my ability to make that decision.
They'll know it from the angle in which the train left the rails and where it ended up. So we'll get a sense of that. And we'll look at that and look at error with regard to the operator. He is injured but I understand in good enough condition he can communicate. So they will have a pretty good idea on that.
What was your first point you wanted to know?
JOHNS: I think -- let's see; the first point you really addressed in its entirety, and that was whether this train had been moving too fast or whether the brakes worked. So I think that pretty much covered it.
When we look at the scene, we do see people still milling around. Another important question I would like to ask you now is --
BRUNO: I can't hear you right now. You'll have to speak up a little more. I can't really hear.
JOHNS: All right. Are you hearing me a little bit better now? Is that a little bit better?
BRUNO: A little bit, yes.
JOHNS: All right.
Are you at the position where you can say this search for victims is concluded or is it going to continue for a while?
BRUNO: I think the search at this point has concluded. They have gone through all of the cars and surrounding areas. The only thing that we have (INAUDIBLE) but we have (INAUDIBLE) completely overturned.
So they have done a number of checks according to FDNY whether there was anyone trapped beneath that. They have done that using dogs, using heat sensor equipment. They don't have information that anyone is.
So at this point, the chief of the department reported earlier that he believes that we have done a full search but we will not know exactly until those cars are fully removed, if there's any other possibility.
I don't believe there is at either the fire department, but it's just a precaution and they are certainly here. They are going to remove those cars as soon as they can and I think we have to wait also for the NTSB to clear that removal as well.
JOHNS: Could you address that question of whether anyone was ejected?
BRUNO: Yes. As I understand it, three of the four people who were killed were ejected.
JOHNS: Got it. Thanks so much, Joe Bruno, the commissioner of New York City. Thanks for getting on the phone with us.
BRUNO: Thank you very much.
JOHNS: We'll be right back with more on this train crash in New York just after this.
JOHNS: We continue to follow this hour's breaking news. At least four people died this morning when a commuter train went off the tracks in New York City. Officials say 67 people are injured, including 11 who are seriously hurt.
Now we want to turn to another developing story, the shock and grief following a fiery car crash that killed actor Paul Walker, one of the actors of the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise. Walker was a passenger in a car that wrecked Saturday outside of Los Angeles.
This brief video clip taken just after it happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, to say Paul Walker's death has sent shockwaves through Hollywood is pretty much of an understatement. He's 40 years old, in the prime of his life and currently filming the seventh installment of one of the most popular movie franchises around.
Now he played this high-octane car enthusiast, in "Fast & Furious," and police say he died inside the Porsche at the scene. But they still have many questions to be answered in this crash.
TURNER (voice-over): One of Hollywood's most bankable stars, Paul Walker, who has made a name for himself in the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise, died in a fiery car crash in Santa Clarita, California. A second person also died in the accident. Both were attending a charity event for Walker's organization, Reach Out Worldwide.
The event was intended to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The crash happened just north of Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. According to his representative, Paul Walker was not driving the 2005 Porsche. When deputies arrived, the car was on fire. Both people in the car pronounced dead at the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.
TURNER (voice-over): All that remains, burnt, mangled metal and a light pole that's been knocked down. Authorities say speed was a factor.
Walker wasn't just a car enthusiast onscreen. Offscreen, the actor competed in the redline time attack racing series. He had been filming the seventh installment of "Fast & Furious" at the time of his death, and some of Hollywood's biggest stars are reacting.
Costar Vin Diesel said on his Instagram account, "Brother, I will miss you very much, I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new angel. Rest in peace."
And another "Fast & Furious" costar Ludacris tweeted, "Your humble spirit was felt from the start. Wherever you blessed your presence, you always left a mark."
And fellow actor Tyrese Gibson said, "My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real. My God, my God, I can't believe I'm writing this."
TURNER: Paul Walker had a 15 year old daughter, Meadow, and many people are sending condolences to her as well. Now while police say this was a single car crash, they are still trying to find out what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
Joe, back to you.
JOHNS: Ahead, the latest developments in this morning's deadly train derailment in New York City.
JOHNS: We continue to follow this hour's breaking news.
A White House official tells CNN that President Obama has been briefed on today's train derailment in New York City. At least four people are dead, 67 injured, after a commuter train went off the tracks in New York.
A law enforcement official on the scene says the train operator, who is among the injured, told investigators that he applied the train's brakes but it did not slow down.
That does it for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Make sure you tune in next Sunday morning at 11:00 am for the debut of "RELIABLE SOURCES" with host Brian Stelter. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley begins right now.