Amtrak Crash: Philadelphia CEO, Wells Fargo Employee And Naval Academy Student Among Dead

Amtrak Crash: Philadelphia CEO, Wells Fargo Employee And Naval Academy Student Among Dead
Southbound Amtrak Crescent Loco Steve / Flickr CC BY 2.0

The family of a mother-of-two involved in the Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia confirmed that she was among the deceased.


Rachel Jacobs, CEO at the Philadelphia-based company ApprenNet, was returning home when the train headed for New York City derailed off its tracks and crashed. ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported that Jacobs worked in Philadelphia, but lived in New York City with her family – a husband and son of two years.

In a statement, her family said, “This is an unthinkable tragedy.

“Rachel was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. She was devoted to her family, her community and the pursuit of social justice. We cannot imagine life without her. We respectfully ask for privacy so that we can begin the process of grieving.”

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ApprenNet COO Emily Foote said that Jacobs had an Amtrak Ten Ride Ticket instead of a reserved ticket, because of which acquiring information about her travels from the railroad company became difficult.

According to Philadelphia Magazine, Foote said, “We called, texted and emailed her right when the crash happened, because we knew she was on the train.

“I went to the hospitals last night, and she wasn’t in any of them. I went to the churches and schools where people are being sheltered.”

ApprenNet website says that Jacobs, a graduate of Columbia Business School and Swarthmore College, previously worked at McGraw-Hill and Ascend Learning.

At least seven people were killed and several were injured in the crash. The train, which was traveling at 106 miles per hour (more than double the maximum permissible speed at that turn), jumped off the tracks at about 9:45 p.m.

The officials said 243 passengers were on board.

Among the deceased included Abid Gilani, working in Wells Fargo’s commercial real estate division, who was returning home after attending meetings in Washington, D.C. His passing was confirmed by the bank.

Justin Zemser, 20, a student of the U.S. Naval Academy, also died in the crash.

The academy said in a statement, “The Naval Academy is deeply saddened to report that a midshipman was named as one of the passengers who lost their life in the Amtrak train which crashed in north Philadelphia at approximately 9:30 p.m. last night.”

Justin’s mother, Susan Zemser, said that her son was returning home to Rockaway Beach, N.Y. He had completed his second year at the academy.

Jim Gaines, 48-year-old father of two, working as a video software architect for the Associated Press, was also killed.

Gaines, who was returning home to Plainsboro, N.J., started working for the AP in 1998. For his “tireless dedication and contagious passion” for innovation, he was presented with the AP’s “Geek of the Month” award in May 2012. He was also part of a team that was awarded the AP Chairman’s Prize in 2006 for developing a video network.

Gaines leaves behind his wife, Jacqueline, an 11-year-old daughter Anushka and 16-year-old son Oliver.

Dr. Herbert Cushing, Chief Medical Officer at Temple University Hospital, said that most of the people being treated at hospitals had fractured ribs. Eight people were in critical condition, he added.

According to Yahoo News, more than 200 people have been given treatment in hospitals and health facilities in the Philadelphia metro area.

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