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Two Dead, 70 Injured in Amtrak Train Derailment; Countdown to Super Bowl LII. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 4, 2018 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:01] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: This is the picture we have from early this morning, happened about four and a half hours ago when these trains collided. Three area hospitals are treating victims their injuries, some with some bumps and bruises, some with broken bones. We are hoping to get more information in terms of their conditions here shortly.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, secondary issue here. The 5,000 gallons of fuel that was spilled, diesel fuel from these trains. The officials say there is no danger to the public. They are containing those leaks.

Now, the engine derailed. We are talking about the passenger train here along with several of the passenger cars. This happened in Cayce, South Carolina. Locally, they are referring to this area as Pine Ridge. This is just southwest of Columbia, South Carolina. The train was running from north-to-south and headed from New York to Miami.

PAUL: Do we have Paul Kirby on the phone? He's with the "Lexington Ledger". OK, we are waiting to get Paul. He is there on the scene and he is trying to get more information for us.

But you can see the route there. You just saw the route there from New York to Orlando. We know this train was traveling south because we talked to Derek Pettaway, and he was on a sleeper train towards the back of the train, and he said he was sleeping when he felt the jolt and they know that they had crash. They had actually -- his passenger car had derailed but was still upright.

And we talked to him just a short time ago. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK PETTAWAY, ON AMTRAK TRAIN WHEN IT DERAILED (via telephone): No, I'm fine. I was discharged from the hospital about 30 minutes ago just with minor whiplash but I'm fine.

PAUL: With minor whiplash. All right. We're glad that you're okay, 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 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 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 decipher what you said there.

PETTAWAY: I'm sorry. It was off the tracks but it didn't -- there wasn't a lot of damage to the car.

BLACKWELL: So it was off the tracks but still upright?

PETTAWAY: Correct.

BLACKWELL: OK.

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 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 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 -- it's 2:30 in morning. I'm pretty sure everybody was asleep and I think people were in shock and 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 a period they were searching to make sure they got everyone off, how long was that window of time between the impact and getting off the train?

PETTAWAY: Between the impact and getting off the train, I don't know. I'd say it took, I don't know. It's really hard to tell the time, but I would say everybody was off after the impact about five to ten 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.

[07:05:01] I'm pretty sure they will wake up 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 -- hit this the CSX train?

PETTAWAY: No. I mean, the only thing you could really see from my vantage point was just -- it looked like the engine was just on its side. I really didn't see any debris or anything of the actual -- much -- much of the impact area.

PAUL: So, Derek, we know 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. Right now, we have no idea.

BLACKWELL: I apologize for interrupting you. You're at the Pine Ridge Middle School where you are in the shelter?

PETTAWAY: Correct.

BLACKWELL: How many people -- how many passengers with you?

PETTAWAY: I don't know. I didn't get a good assessment. I just walked out of the gymnasium. So far, I see maybe about 20, 30 people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All righty. Again, this is one of the first pictures we have gotten of the scene that you're looking at there. Some of those passenger cars that derailed.

We do have on the phone with us public information officer for the City of Lexington, Harrison Cahill.

Mr. Cahill, thank you so much for being with us. Can you help us understand what is happening there right now?

HARRISON CAHILL, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, CITY OF LEXINGTON (via telephone): Yes. Just to point out, it is the county of Lexington, not the city. But what we have right now is we responded to this train collision at about 2:39 this morning. Law enforcement, fire, EMS, all of them responding in unison and working great together.

What happened is we have a passenger train and a freight train, obviously, our first mode of transportation -- or first thing that we are going to do is look for passengers that need our assistance and that is exactly what our emergency responders are trained to do and that's what they did.

What we started doing is getting passengers off that train. It is important to point out that all passengers at this time are off the train. During that process, we started transporting about 70 percent on or about I'm sorry, 70 passengers to local hospitals. About 80 percent of those went to the Lexington in Richland, so we, again, this is the kind of scenarios that we train for and the reception there has been great.

There were two fatalities and, you know, we are working through that with the Lexington County coroner's office. The only thing that we can say is our hearts go out to the families of those affected. At this time, we are going to keep cooperating with all agencies together and make sure that this comes to a satisfactory end.

BLACKWELL: Harrison, do you know if the two fatalities -- they were both on the passenger train? Could one of them been an engineer on the freight train? Do you know yet?

CAHILL: At this time, we have not been appraised of that information by the Lexington County Coroner's office so I wouldn't be able to give that information.

BLACKWELL: OK.

PAUL: Harrison, do you know if both of these trains were in motion at the time?

CAHILL: That, I don't know. We are going to leave that up to the investigating agencies to determine. We just know that when we responded, there was a collision, a very evident collision and that we went to work immediately in securing those passengers, making sure that they were getting to the places that they need to go and those passengers that didn't need transport, that they were comfortable and warm and got food at the shelters they needed to go to.

PAUL: Harrison, can you help us understand what the condition those passenger cars were in? Were any of them damaged to the point that they were hard to get into or get passengers out of?

CAHILL: No. I don't think any -- any of the passenger trains that were involved in the collision were inaccessible to our emergency personnel or for the passengers to get out of.

PAUL: You said that you transported 70 people. There were reports of potentially some walking wounded. Do you know if in addition to the 70 transported that there were more people who went to local hospitals or taken by maybe people who were driving by or in this community?

CAHILL: No, no. I don't have information regarding that.

[07:10:01] All I know is that we did transport the 70 people. Of course, if we did see anybody walking along the tracks that may have been involved, our emergency personnel would have definitely responded and gotten them the attention and medical care that they deserved.

BLACKWELL: Any updated numbers on the people who went to the shelter? We spoke with Derek Pettaway who was one of the passengers who was there. He said 20 to 30 that time but maybe 30 minutes since that conversation. Do you have the latest numbers?

CAHILL: No, but I do have the Red Cross shelter attendant here with me. He could answer those questions for you, if you'd like.

PAUL: OK. Sure, Harrison, thank you.

CAHILL: OK. This is Cuthbert Langley from the South Carolina Red Cross.

BLACKWELL: OK. Mr. Langley, my question was the number of persons at the Pine Ridge Middle School shelter.

CUTHBERT LANGLEY, SOUTH CAROLINA RED CROSS SPOKESMAN (via telephone): Good morning.

Right now, we are still getting those numbers together. Of course, this is still really early on in this response. We are still trying to figure out exactly how many people are there, but what we do know is that our volunteers are here or en route and they're going to be providing a warm place for them. We also have emergency response vehicles that are going to be coming to this area as well to have water, snacks and those sorts of things for those impacted by this collision and derailment.

PAUL: Mr. Langley, have there been any conversations with Amtrak or where all of these people are going to go or how long they may have to stay in that shelter?

LANGLEY: As I said, it's still really early in this investigation. We are going to continue to work with our government partners and the agencies here to work together to coordinate a plan in terms of that. So, we're going to stay in lock-step communication with them throughout this investigation and the Red Cross will assist as we are needed.

PAUL: Is there anything the Red Cross needs at this point to take care of these people?

LANGLEY: At this point, our volunteers are dedicated. They are ready to help in any way possible. We are going to keep this reception site open for as long as needed and provide a warm safe place for these folks to collect themselves and to stay for as long as they need it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Cuthbert Langley with South Carolina Red Cross. Also, we spoke with Harrison Cahill, PIO for the county of Lexington there with this crash happening. Again, two dead, 70 injured, and we're going to repeat this number for Amtrak throughout the morning if you have any questions or concerns potentially about people that you know could be on this train, the number 1-800-523- 9101.

We'll take a break and we'll continue with the breaking news in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:16:46] PAUL: All right. Breaking news this morning. Two people dead and 70 taken to hospitals after an Amtrak train with nearly 150 people on board crashed into a CSX freight train. This was in South Carolina. It's southwest, it's actually a suburb of Columbia, South Carolina.

The Amtrak engine that derailed, along with several passenger cars. Right now, we don't know how many passenger cars but we did speak with one of the passengers, Derek Pettaway, who was on the rear of the train in a sleeper car that says his was one of them.

PAUL: And we know a lot of people who were not injured have been taken to a middle school, Pine Ridge Middle School there. The Red Cross is supporting them to keep them warm, to keep them fed until they figure out what happens from this point on. The Lexington County sheriff says all of the passengers are off of that train. That is important to note.

And that three area hospitals were treating those 70 some victims. Their injuries ranging from some bumps and bruises to some serious broken bones perhaps.

Peter Goelz is the former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. He is on the phone with us now.

Peter, when you hear what happened this morning that an Amtrak train collided with a CSX train, your first thoughts.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD (via telephone): Well, it highlights the difference between the U.S. rail system and, say, the European system where we have both freight and passenger trains competing for the use of the same track and that has been a problem for years and it's one that we have to deal with. It looks to me preliminarily as though the Amtrak train may have side-swiped the freight train and because it did not look like it was a head-on collision. There would be far more damaging and far more -- far greater number of injuries.

But, you know, Amtrak has a tough run. Three accidents in recent history, in recent months. And it's going to raise the question of is there adequate funding at Amtrak and does the most -- have the most advance safety does she most safety components when put on the line. The front-end camera will tell us what happened.

PAUL: Well, the three accidents you speak of. One was September 18th, the Amtrak Cascades train that derailed in DuPont, Washington and three people died there. The other was just this past week where one person died when a truck crashed into an Amtrak train. I believe they are now saying that the truck may have been in the wrong in that particular instance. But definitely --

GOELZ: Yes, the truck driver may have tried to jump the --

PAUL: You're right but still talking about three different train accidents in the last two and a half months.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

GOELZ: Yes. That's a tough -- that's a tough record and, you know, Amtrak has preliminary -- has -- has been perennially underfunded over the past decades. And the question is -- are we ever going to get serious about funding passenger service in the United States?

[07:20:09] BLACKWELL: Hey, Peter, you mentioned that there is a camera on the front of the train, we will get that or at least investigators will get that. It's the middle of the night. Actually, early morning now and happened in the middle of the more than at 2:30 a.m. How long until they get that and start to get answers about how and why this happened?

GOELZ: Well, when the -- when the NTSB get there and they will get there sometime this morning, that's the first thing they go after. They have already instructed the rescue and recovery crews to, you know, secure the camera and to secure the event recorder that is on the engine and they will do that on both -- both the freight train and the passenger train. And they are going to want -- if the crew members have not been injured, they are going to want to interview the crew members right away.

I don't think -- I don't think this will be a long term -- the investigation may take a year or more, but the preliminary indication of what went on will not take very long -- probably within the week or so.

BLACKWELL: So, Peter, let me ask you about positive train control because that is something mandated by Congress and is supposed to be on all trains, although it had been postponed before so we don't know that it was on this train. But I understand that is a system that would automatically slow a train down after an alert would go on maybe there was something on the tracks. If it is side-swiped as you assert, you believe could have happened here based on the damage that we are seeing, would positive train control have come into play?

GOELZ: Well, that is going to raise the -- you know, you're absolutely right. The question of positive train control is due to be put on by 2018, Amtrak was slow to put it on in the accident in Washington. They were slow to put it on a number of years ago in the accident outside of Philadelphia.

It is not on all of their -- all of their routes. It's on the northeast corridor, and positive train control, as well as other monitoring devices -- monitoring equipment should have told the engineers that the track was clear or it wasn't clear. Now, it may have been something else, but positive train control, had it been in place on the tracks and with the engines in this case, probably would have prevented the accident.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We are hearing similar questions and concern from Mary Schiavo when the government will complement these plans to add positive train control after the train crashes we have seen the past several months.

Peter Goelz, former managing director of the NTSB -- thanks so much for being with us this morning.

GOELZ: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back with more on the breaking news out of South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:27:29] BLACKWELL: All right. We are approaching the bottom of the hour.

And if you're just joining us -- two people dead, 70 taken to hospitals. This was after an Amtrak train with almost 150 people on board, crashed into a CSX freight train in South Carolina just southwest of Columbia, South Carolina, in the suburb of Cayce/Pine Ridge. Local people call it the Amtrak engine derailed along with several passenger cars.

PAUL: And state and county officials at a press conference a short while ago said the Lexington County sheriff has confirmed all passengers are off of that Amtrak train now. This happened about five hours ago. Their injuries, some just have some bumps and bruises. Some have broken bones.

Mary Schiavo, CNN transportation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. department of transportation on the phone with us now.

As we know that there are a lot of people at a shelter and a middle school there in Pine Ridge who were not injured but now trying to figure out where they are going and what they are going to do as a route that runs from New York to Miami.

Mary, we just talked to Peter Goelz, former managing director of the NTSB. And he said, based on what he has seen he believes it's possible that the trains, as opposed to a head-on collision there was some side of side-swipe accident here. What do you say to that?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION (via telephone): Well, that would be -- it's possible, but it would be unusual. Ordinarily, the tracks, particularly one that is heavily traveled with freight trains and I checked this during the break, this was a CSX track, not only a CSX train, but the track in this area was a track that is owned and maintained by CSX. And the distances between the operating abilities on tracks that are side-by-side are supposed to allow for the standard with trains. However, if, for some reason, CSX -- the train was perhaps idle, it

was on its side, it was then taken off on a side to a shoe fly, it's hard to say exactly what happened. But, ordinarily, it's not a side- swipe situation. Ordinarily, it's a situation where the train is on the track and another train, you know, it's not very scientific, another train doesn't know it, particularly in the dark.

And here, I don't believe this track had positive train control on it.

[07:30:00] CSX has 16,000 miles of train track that it has to put positive train control on. They have already spent $1.2 billion, according to their information on their Website, but that's a lot of train track they have to do. CSX had to put it on -- has to put it on. The deadline has been extended to 2018, as Peter said with a possible extension two near years. That is 76 percent of their rails.

So, what you would have is a train on a track in the dark and you would be relying on the engineer overtaking train or the oncoming train to see it. Pretty stuff without positive train control.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Mary, just pulling that thread, we don't know how long or how much advanced notice either of the engineers had before they knew that this could possibly end with this collision, but -- I mean, how long would they need to prevent it? How much distance would they need to prevent it?

SCHIAVO: A lot. It takes -- for a regular, you know, a normal configured train, this one is probably about 10 cars, this particular train usually is, it takes at least a mile. If the train was going 55 miles an hour, it would take at least -- at least a mile to slow and probably more to stop that train and that translates, obviously, at 60 miles an hour, at least a minute or so to do it. And, again, it's dark. As many competitors have said, it's a rural area and close to a large city, Columbia, but it would have been tough to see.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Mary --

SCHIAVO: So they couldn't have stopped quickly and the passengers didn't say there was any braking before the collision.

PAUL: Yes, they did say that.

So, listen, Mary, thank you so much.

I want to get to Derrec Becker. He's with South Carolina Emergency Management.

Derrec, we talked to you a while ago. Give us an update as to where things stand now some five hours after this crash happened.

DERREC BECKER, SOUTH CAROLINA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (via telephone): Sure, not much information from our last media briefing 30 minutes ago. But I can confirm that all passengers have been removed from the train. They have either been transported to the hospital. We have over 70 people who have been transported to the hospital with nonlife- threatening injuries or they have been taken to the reception center that we have established with the Red Cross in Lexington County at the nearby middle school.

Now, this incident actually happened very close to the state's emergency operation center, so we have been able to use those resources to support Lexington County sheriff's office and the Lexington County Emergency Services with whatever they may need.

But at this point, it's going to be probably slow-going throughout the day as incident (INAUDIBLE) and investigators get on scene. Of course, we do not know any causes or anything like that.

But one of the things that we want to stress, because we do have passengers who are on board this train, is that if anybody out there had loved ones that they think might have been on board, they can call 1-800-number that is established by Amtrak and that 1-800 number is 1- 800-523-9101. Again, that's 1-800-523-9101.

BLACKWELL: Derrec, do you know -- you said that, of course, we don't get -- we don't have the details about the cause yet but investigators will be on-site.

BECKER: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Do you know if NTSB has arrived? If Amtrak investigators have arrived yet?

BECKER: Last report they were on the way and they should be here within the hour.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Derrec, was there any sign -- we were just talking to Mary Schiavo about this, but is there any sign that either any one of these trains had attempted to slow down?

BECKER: We don't have any information on that. Right now, our focus is on the actual emergency response. That is what we do in emergency management, making sure that we can support any requests for resources to first responders. That is a more of a question for NTSB. We haven't heard any rumors or any reports like that.

So, right now, as I said before, our focus is on the people on board the train and making sure they have someplace warm and making sure that anybody who is injured is getting treated.

PAUL: You know, also, we have asked a lot about the Amtrak train for obvious reasons and where the bulk of the people are.

BECKER: Sure.

PAUL: But was there any derailment on the CSX train? Was that train still on the tracks or derailed as well?

BECKER: We're getting some more information about that. We do know there was a spill of diesel fuel. Hazmat teams from both the state health department and environmental control, as well as Lexington County and CSX and Amtrak are in the process of containing that right now.

There is no danger to anybody around in the surrounding areas. The incident is very near the state farmers market and other residential areas but right now, everyone is safe.

PAUL: All right. Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management there -- thank you so much for everything you're doing for all of those folks there.

[07:35:03] I know they appreciate it and it can be a tough time for them. So, we appreciate you talking to us, Derek. Thank you.

And do stay close. We're going to be back in just a moment with more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIE MIGNEREY, HOTEL SIDE SELECTION MANAGER: As age has creeped up on me, I noticed little things going up the stairs, I'm a little out of breath. Go hiking with my family, and I'm the last one in line.

I'm much more calling up to the kids can you bring this downstairs? Or if I'm sitting down, can you grab that glass of water for me? I'm not looking to go be a bodybuilder so I wanted everyday functionability.

KOILEEN LOSCH, CORRECTIVE EXERCISE SPECIALIST: Functional fitness is where you're training for everyday movements. We don't think how a squat will translate into everyday world but we squat every time sitting down, getting into car and getting off the couch and when we are traveling in the airports. We are putting things into the overhead compartments. That's a shoulder press.

MIGNEREY: I totally feel this in my stomach.

They had me do certain exercises and ask how does that feel? Where are you feeling that?

LOSCH: Exercise should not be about getting injured so if we find a client has an injury, we will refer them out to physical therapist or occupational therapist.

MIGNEREY: After two months I noticed the aches and pains going away. I have lost some weight. I feel healthier. I feel like my muscles are stronger and they support me better.

I want to be out there with the kids having the fun versus sitting in the chair and watching everybody else have those moments.

CROWD: We rock! Woo!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:40:53] BLACKWELL: Breaking news this morning: two people dead, 70 taken to hospitals after an Amtrak train with nearly 150 people crashed into a CSX freight train. This was in South Carolina. The Amtrak engine derailed after the collision along with several passenger cars. We don't know how many.

We have on the phone with us Paul Kirby of the "Lexington Ledger."

Paul, thanks for being with us. We understand you live by, rushed right over. What did you see?

PAUL KIRBY, LEXINGTON LEDGER (via telephone): Well, when I got here EMS and firefighters just arriving on the scene. Immediately, I pulled in as close as I could. I did not want to get in the way, of course.

But from the top of the bridge, you could see what the firefighters were calling on our radios walking wounded and some people that were not injured enough to have to be carried. And they were -- began to immediately triage, set it up. A helicopter began to circle right away and eventually landed in our state farmers market which is within a few hundred yards of where this occurred.

We are at a place where they unload cars off of freight trains on to a yard where they put on trucks for distribution, new cars. And apparently, that is where this accident occurred.

PAUL: So what did you see in terms of the passenger trains or the passenger cars that were derailed and the CSX train?

KIRBY: Yes. It's very hard to see much of that part. Apparently up closer to the front is where the most damage is. Our firefighters, we have a fire station called South (INAUDIBLE) -- that is close to here. Our battalion chief got here very quickly from that station and had to actually start walking down towards the front of the train. They had a tough time accessing.

Now on another part of the train, much back further, they were taking off people that were not severely injured with bumps and bruises and scratches. As what happened there was a ravine, or kind of a deep ditch there and they brought our trench team in with lumber to get people across there. Where the most severely injured people were and where the train apparently is off the track is out of sight.

BLACKWELL: I'm looking at some video in a preview monitor here. I think we just aired it from -- or some video from Derek Pettaway. It looks like a cellphone. Actually, this is your video, Paul.

KIRBY: Yes, I'm the guy with the beard and brown coat.

BLACKWELL: All right. How close are we to roads, how close are we to homes, to businesses here?

KIRBY: We are sitting alongside highway 321 south which is Charleston highway and we are at the intersection of Pine Ridge Drive. We are within 50 to a hundred yards of where this occurred. There is a bridge here that takes 321 on across the train tracks and, at that point, right on the right of that bridge is where they unload these new cars to put on trucks. And on the left is our farmers market.

So, we are right at the intersection where it occurred and then it's unbelievable this occurred within a mile of our state emergency operations center. There are schools here and that is where they have taken the people that are not injured now.

PAUL: All righty. Paul Kirby with "The Lexington Ledger," thank you for walking us through what you were able to see today. We appreciate it.

KIRBY: Sure. Thank you. Bye-bye.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: We also want to remind you of the phone number from Amtrak. We know that some people who listen to us on radio and can't see the screen. So, let me read it out for, 1-800-523-9101. That is the number if you had concerns or potentially you know someone, have a loved one or know someone on the Amtrak Train 91 headed from New York to Miami. This happened at 2:35 near South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:49:11] PAUL: We're going to get you back to the breaking news in just a bit, but we do want to Andy Scholes who is in Minneapolis this morning.

Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys.

Of course, it's Super Bowl Sunday and it's set to be the coldest Super Bowl in history. Right now, it's a negative two degrees outside. Wind chill around negative 20. It's going to be subfreezing wind chills throughout the day.

And that's one of the biggest concerns. You know, the game is indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium but they have to get 70,000 people inside those doors. So, for the first time ever doing remote security checkpoints. For example, fans with tickets can go to Mall of America and go through security and 30 bucks get a ride over here inside the security perimeter and wouldn't have to wait too long out in the cold if they do that.

As for the game, you got the Patriots versus the Eagles. Tom Brady looking to win his sixth. No one in the history of the NFL has ever accomplished that.

[07:50:00] The Eagles, meanwhile, they are trying to win their first- ever Super Bowl. And, guys, I've been walking around town. Their fans are loud, and optimistic about today's game. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Why does everyone want me to retire so bad? I don't get it. I'm having fun. The team's doing good. You know, I know I'm a little bit older than most of the other guys. But, you know, I'm really enjoying it. Obviously, enjoy the experience of playing in this game --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right. That was Tom Brady, of course, saying not planning on retiring any time soon. And at 40 years old, he'll be the oldest quarterback to ever start in the Super Bowl and also the oldest to win MVP. He took that award home last night.

BLACKWELL: All right. Andy Scholes for us this in Minneapolis, Andy, thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: On the phone with us now, the chairman of the NTSB, Robert Sumwalt, as we are looking at this train crash between an Amtrak train and a CSX freight train that happened about five and a half hours ago in South Carolina.

Chairman, thank you so much for being with us.

What can you tell us about the situation there in Casey, South Carolina?

ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB CHAIRMAN (via telephone): Good morning, Christi, and thank you for having me. We will have a team arriving in Columbia, South Carolina, this morning. They'll be leaving Washington in about nine minutes. Soon, team members will be arriving throughout the --

BLACKWELL: All right. Mr. Sumwalt, I wonder, one of the things that -- if you're still with us, I heard a click there -- one of the concerns we've heard from our analysts both Peter Goelz, formerly as you know with the NTSB and Mary Schiavo, is the installation of positive train controls.

If -- do you know if these were on this track, if that could have been employed in this situation?

SUMWALT: Victor, determining whether or not PTC was installed or is installed on this particular segment that's going to be something certainly of great interest to the NTSB. There's been a lot of talk about that in the last few months. And so, we certainly want to ascertain the status of the PTC system here.

BLACKWELL: OK.

PAUL: What do you know about the signaling in that area, chairman? Especially in the dark at 2:35 in the morning when this happened.

SUMWALT: Christi, we will -- we will begin collecting that information immediately. We will have a signal specialist to come in. Each of those signal boxes has a signal recorder so we can actually download that and see what the status of the signal was displaying at the time of the crash.

PAUL: How long do you think it will be before you'll have more information in terms of what happened, how much time will elapse?

SUNWALT: Great question. We will -- we should be -- we do plan to do a press conference this afternoon and tell what we know at that point. Our guys and our investigators are very good with being able to get the information that they need, so I would say that later this afternoon, we should be able to start confirming information.

The investigation itself, we've got a lot going on, of course. We just had a crash on Wednesday. There was one a few months ago in December, December 18, so our rail division is pretty busy.

But, generally speaking, anywhere between 12 and 18 months is about what our rail investigations are taking these days.

PAUL: All right. Chairman, we appreciate you so much being here. Robert Sumwalt, NTSB chairman, thank you for your time this morning.

SUMWALT: Christi, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Adam Myrick captain of the Lexington Police Department. What can you add to this conversation about what's happening there and the latest on both those injured, those -- the scene there. Just fill us in.

CAPTAIN ADAM MYRICK, LEXINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Sure. One quick clarification, Lexington County Sheriff's Department on that affiliation.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

MYRICK: But right now, we are in a response mode, of course. Still, we can share with you the passenger train and the freight train collided. Our role here at the sheriff's department is to make sure that the site, the scene remains secure. So, we have units taking care of that.

We also have units taking care of traffic control points around the perimeter of the scene because this is an active and an ongoing investigation. We want to make sure that those who need to access the scene to get down there, those who don't -- we quite frankly want them to stay away. So, we're encouraging the public to stay away from this area because, unfortunately, this time on a Sunday morning, it's not a very well traveled area in this part of the county.

Something else we're doing is because these passengers have been through such a very difficult time and situation unlike anything they've ever experienced. [07:55:02] We have started transporting them here in the last a little bit from the crash scene to a Red Cross reception area because the rain has started. It's very cold here at least in South Carolina weather and we are now moving them to a more warm and dry place to keep them as comfortable as possible.

PAUL: OK. We appreciate the update and wishing all of you the very best. I know you're taking as good of care as you can for those folks who are not hurt enough to go to the hospital but trying to figure out where to go in the process.

Andy, we appreciate it. Andy Myrick, appreciate so much the update.

BLACKWELL: Captain, thank you so much. We of course will continue covering the breaking news this morning. Thank you for joining us this morning.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after the break.

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