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Chicago Train Accident: Passengers Being Evacuated

Aired August 3, 2001 - 11:17   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you now to Chicago and give you some more information on this train collision we saw earlier -- we heard about earlier this morning.

You see here now live pictures coming in from WFLD, as emergency workers are trying to get people off of these trains. And as you can see, it is an elevated train. So they are trying to get them down off these tracks, which are some 25 feet above the ground.

Let's check in now with Dennis Gault. He is the fire chief of Chicago.

And Chief Gault, what can you tell us about this situation? What happened here?

DENNIS GAULT, CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEF: Yes. Good morning, Leon.

We had two CTA commuter trains at approximately 9:00 this morning on the "Red" and "Purple" line here in Chicago bump together as they were passing. They were northbound and southbound on opposite tracks.

And the bumping together caused some injuries on the train. We are experiencing right now neck-and-back-pain type injuries, along with bumps and bruises, as well as some minor lacerations. We immediately put into effect an emergency medical plan No. 2, which automatically brings a group of fire department equipment from the fire suppression side, as well as 10 ambulances, minimally, to the scene.

At that time, we had the power turned off by the CTA and we started to evacuate the injured. And about this time, we've got most of the injured off of the train. And we're in the process now of getting the ambulatory people off. It's an elevated train, as you can see in your video feed. And the accident occurred not in a train station. So there's no easy way to get down from the train. So we have to have our fire department trucks and power ladders to come in and assist the people getting off of the train safely.

Naturally, with this happening at rush hour, the trains were packed. So it's a very slow and tedious process, in terms of the evacuation of these trains, to ensure those people that are not injured do not get injured and those that are injured are not injured any more as we get them safely off of the train. HARRIS: Don't want to make a bad situation worse.

GAULT: That's correct.

HARRIS: Can you give us the numbers you have on the injured? You say you've got most of them off. How many do you have?

GAULT: Well, right now, we are not showing exact numbers. I am not on the scene. We do have the fire commissioner and the president of the CTA on the scene assessing what is going on. And momentarily, we will be given an update from the scene, after the fire commissioner and the president of the CTA confer with each other and get the latest and most accurate information for you.

HARRIS: We sure appreciate the information you delivered for us, Chief Dennis Gault. We appreciate that very much. Thank you for updating that story and adding to the information that we have on this.

We'll keep our eye on it. And, of course, we'll give you any more details as we get them here.

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