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Officials describe 'horrific scene' at Amtrak crash in Philadelphia

Officials describe 'horrific scene' at Amtrak crash in Philadelphia
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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) on Wednesday pleaded for “patience and understanding” as investigators examine the Amtrak train derailment the night before that killed seven.

“We have not experienced anything like this in modern times,” Nutter said during a press conference. “This is a horrific scene. I need your patience and understanding as we try to get through it.”

“We are not getting into hard specifics until we know for sure,” Nutter added of the incident, which injured more than 140.

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The Philadelphia mayor said that Amtrak was already deconstructing the train’s black box at a company center in Delaware.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was on scene and helping with the investigation near the city, he added.

Nutter refused to say on Wednesday whether any additional passengers were unaccounted for in either casualty or uninjured tallies.

“We do not have an accurate count on that,” he said of potentially missing riders. “We can answer only what we can answer."

“That is a very tedious process,” Nutter added of matching the passenger manifest to area hospital admittance records and Amtrak’s family and friends assistance center.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt called the scene “devastating” and said a team of investigators had begun sifting through the wreckage.

They would examine the track, vehicle camera footage, area train signals and other evidence, he added.

“My goal is to provide you with factual information as we have it,” Sumwalt said.

“As Mayor Nutter said, we will not be speculating while we are here,” he added. “We have lots of work that needs to be done.”

Sumwalt said his team’s initial investigation was crucial for establishing the best framework of Tuesday’s events.

“Our purpose here is to collect the perishable evidence, the evidence that will disappear with the passage of time,” he said.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, which was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York, overturned late Tuesday.

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) survived the crash and tweeted about its aftermath on Tuesday evening.

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDC mayor admitted to Democratic governors group amid statehood fight Bottom line Overnight Energy: EPA takes major step to battle climate change MORE (D-Del.) was also onboard the train but disembarked in Wilmington about 40 miles from the accident site.