Derailed Metro-North Trains Lifted Upright by Crane

Officials continue clean up following the deadly accident that claimed four lives, injured dozens.
3:00 | 12/02/13

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Transcript for Derailed Metro-North Trains Lifted Upright by Crane
This is a special room. -- -- New York with its ABC news digital special report on that deadly train derailment in New York City. A look at the scene today more than 24 hours. After that train jumped the tracks as it was making a turn. Killing four people. While the NTSB -- the train cars for clues of possible mechanical failures they're also looking for signs of potential human error. Officials tell ABC news investigators have confiscated the cell phone of the train operator William Rockefeller junior. They wanted to know if the twenty year metro -- veteran was distracted moments before the train derailed in terms of specific course here. That's going to have to be determined. Full investigation. Before the accident passengers say the train was approaching a sharp curve at a speed faster than normal. The train operator reportedly -- authorities he applied the brakes. Fail about -- time pilots there was absolutely dying off its track and there's just like the rubble from under the tracks like buying I am right based. Passengers described the terrifying moments after the train jumps the track. Seven cars -- -- -- to roll over one stopping only feet from the banks of the Harlem river. I thought I'm gonna -- To -- on several was getting thrown around and there was people -- This video shows the scene of the disaster from one of the first trains allowed to pass by the four people who died have now been aideed. 59 year old James Ferrari 54 year old Donna Smith. 35 year old kid sick and in 58 year old Jim -- The NTSB tells ABC news it won't know later today how fast this train was going. Whether the brakes were used and whether the brakes work -- So -- -- just right over your left shoulder there -- is still going on the scene today there who is still there are being investigated the NTSB still there. The NTSB is still here. They are moving pieces of the mangled train trying to recreate exactly what happened we've seen large cranes moving. Pieces of the trains about now there's still a lot of concern about the people who were still injured -- we -- told from our station in New York WABC that at least. Two dozen people are still hospitalized two of them in critical condition but thankfully then we're told those injuries are not life threatening an excuse to. -- on Bradley to -- thank you for that and just south of where to line is that. As he mentioned that some of those victims -- recovering today. At a hospital in New York City and WE BC reporter Toni Yates is outside -- presbyterian in Manhattan Tony. What do we known now about those that are still being treated inside. It well you know earlier today and we heard that there weren't told -- 63 people who were injured unfortunately couple hours ago. That number jumped up to 74 injured the one good thing about that though is that. None of those injuries appear to be life threatening 45 were treated and released now one of the more serious injuries. Is over at same part of -- hospital. An off duty MTA employee who was on the train with his fourteen year old -- ended his fourteen year old son was treated and released but the father. Suffered a spinal cord injury they're hoping. That they are monitoring that to see -- he's going to be paralyzed or not that is one of the more serious injuries that we know of thus far. Didn't Tony and I know the investigation and obviously still ongoing -- with that change a number from 63 to 74. Have investigators given any kind of indication that that number in fact could change even further. They have not said that at this point I mean they spent sell many hours at the train trying to make sure that of course. All of the body is all of the other victims were recovered they know all of the hospitals that they went to they kept count all the hospitals kept in coordination with each other so. They think at this point that that count of 74. Will not go up in fact saint but at a hospital and the Presbyterian Hospital which is there behind me -- that they expect more of those patients to be released today. And try to -- before we let you go have you been able to speak with any other family members aside from the father and son that you spoke -- And we've been standing outside yet presbyterian asking people if they are family members we have not come across. Any family members -- as of yet some of -- -- -- did speak to family members neighbors and friends. Some of the the victims who died -- -- -- what people who died in of course. This morning they are horrified. A beast -- your ABC's -- Yates in Manhattan Tony thank you for that. Eric -- ski is watching this investigation and as it is unfolding as investors are trying to -- exactly what went wrong in this. -- shed some light this obviously has not been an easy year for metro north. No accident backed in the very same spot -- quite near to the same spot -- the train derailed in the Bronx -- the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet. There was a freight train that derailed back in July and before that this year it may. There was an accident involving a passenger trade and other metro north commuter rail train. Up in Bridgeport Connecticut -- that injured 73 people. -- and so this is another blemish on an otherwise pretty good safety record for for metro north and -- investigators of course want to know why you heard. From the NTSB did their bottom line is to prevent this kind of thing from happening again so people feel safe riding the rails. And despite those recent accidents this is the first fatal accidents. For the NCA -- corrects -- seems so did they have been some problems on the subways but for metro north commuter rail. They've had a a relatively good safety record and authorities say that there is no reason to believe the trains are unsafe they're going to get to the bottom of what happened. In this particular case to see if it was some kind of mechanical failure human error something preventable perhaps. That they can pinpoint and -- address in the -- he obviously have well I expansive system that covers. Adversely more than just New York City in Manhattan in obviously covers the tristate area -- mean it's it's quite an extensive system. 48000 people ride metro north commuter rail every single week it's part of the largest commuter rail system in the United States. And you couldn't believe that there are delays and cancellations in the offing now for at least a week given the scope of the work have to -- -- On the tracks in the Bronx the Hudson line -- this it was a impacting it is probably going to be shut down for at least that long. With buses and subways and and other trains combining to handle the daily rush of commuters it could add an hour or two. The daily commute -- -- and do we expect to hear from the NTSB today probably this afternoon as they get ready to not only interview the train crew. But also take a look at the -- cellphone and want to see if he was texting or if he was on the phone or otherwise distracted. Moments before the derailment there are also going to take a look at toxicology reports of those that are available that -- -- there any drugs or alcohol on the operator's system there's no indication that there are any at this point but it's part of the routine investigation. And then -- going to focus their efforts on the train cars themselves investigators have been going through them. -- to the extent they're able now but they've been able to -- the -- that had been flipped on their side. They could go through -- looking for any signs of a mechanical problem. As this -- houses that the investigators are really keeping the possibilities open weathered the human whether be mechanical aired simply because the fact that -- having gathered all the information just as of those are the only two options look you saw the way the train cars came to arrest on the western side. Of the tracks right along the banks of the rivers. And it looked as if the train took the large curve there if it was just too fast and -- -- and I think they're going to be able to conclude that speed. Was an issue but why wasn't going too fast was it because as the operator has suggested the brakes didn't work. There were some reporting to suggest that -- even -- an emergency braking procedure called dumping. That would ordinarily be used to avoid a collision on the tracks in an emergency. But it could also been human -- and was the driver distracted. Either by his cell phone or by other train crew members was there something else at play here. The speed limit around that large -- dropped significantly. It goes from seventy miles an hour -- -- thirty miles an hour around the curve and it picks right back up again -- the drivers have to be alert. We've heard from governor Andrew Cuomo here. That the curve has existed for a lot of years ever since metro north came into existence and so many many operators have successfully negotiated that curve. Why not this time we also know that the NTSB has recovered those black box recorders as well do we know the condition do we know how quickly and -- the turn the information from. Inside those devices those devices are already being analyzed the NTSB tweeted out some photographs of of technicians taking a look at the information. From those event recorders one of either -- of the trade. And they'll tell investigators pretty quickly how fast the train was moving on -- -- that was going too fast they'll also know if the motor man tried to apply the brakes and whether the break. Actually worked and they'll get a sense right away. Of whether there was a mechanical failure. And because that's going to happen so quickly is as soon as today. The state it is actively bracing for the possibility that this was human error and and with that possibility. The state knows the public is going to want a robust response to be assured. That they're going to be safe riding the rails does something need to be done to automate the braking systems of these trains it's an expensive fix. But what a state may ultimately feel must be done. A lot of questions that we'll certainly be asked and hopefully answer as that investigation does continue ABC's -- -- he watching the latest for us -- thank you for that also and thanked -- Bradley -- -- for their contributions as well as the story is developing we have complete coverage right here on For non down Cutler New York with the CB.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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