Seven people were killed in an Amtrak train derailment Tuesday night in Philadelphia. One was an Associated Press employee, and another was a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy. The third was a Wells Fargo executive. The others have not been publicly identified.
At least two people still missing from the crash have been identified by friends and family members.
Those who died include:
Jim Gaines, an Associated Press video software architect, was a geek’s geek — and his colleagues loved him for it.
The 48-year-old father of two was named the news agency’s Geek of the Month in May 2012 for his “tireless dedication and contagious passion” to technological innovation.
“At AP, not a frame goes by in the world of video that escapes the passionate scrutiny of video architect Jim Gaines,” the award said.
Gaines was in the train’s quiet car, headed home to Plainsboro, New Jersey, after meetings Tuesday at the news agency’s Washington, D.C., office. His wife, Jacqueline, confirmed his death.
“Jim was more precious to us than we can adequately express,” his family said in a statement.
Gaines joined the AP in 1998 and was a key factor in nearly all of the news agency’s video initiatives, including the successful rollout of high-definition video and the AP’s Video Hub — a service that provides live video to hundreds of clients around the world.
In 2006, Gaines’ team won the Chairman’s Prize in 2006 for development of the agency’s Online Video Network.
Gaines “leaves behind a legacy of professionalism and critical accomplishment, kindness and humor,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt told employees in an email. “He will be missed.”
He is also survived by a 16-year-old son, Oliver, and an 11-year-old daughter, Anushka.
Justin Zemser, a popular student leader and athlete, was on a break from the U.S. Naval Academy and heading home to Rockaway Beach, New York, where playing high school football helped him and his teammates through the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called Zemser a “crucial member” of the institution.
The 20-year-old’s family released a statement mourning “a loving son, nephew and cousin who was very community-minded.” They said the tragedy “has shocked us all in the worst way.”
Zemser was in his second year. He served as vice president of the Jewish Midshipmen Club and played wide receiver on the academy’s sprint football team.
At Channel View School for Research, Zemser was valedictorian, student government president and captain of the football team.
Sandy shuttered the school building for two months, but he and his teammates salvaged their season, returning to the field for a final game in Staten Island two weeks after the storm.
Zemser mentored younger students, and he and a classmate even took it upon themselves to analyze Channel View’s SAT data and give presentations on how to prepare students better, then-Principal Pat Tubridy recalled.
“He was so committed, and yet so easygoing,” she said.
Outside school, Zemser interned for New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich and former Councilman James Sanders. Ulrich called him “truly a bright, talented and patriotic young man.”
Zemser also volunteered with a church program, a soup kitchen and a nursing home and mentored children with autism, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. Schumer and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks nominated Zemser to the Naval Academy, and Meeks was struck by his “high character, intellectual curiosity, and maturity beyond his years.”
Abid Gilani, a senior vice president in the Hospitality Finance Group for Wells Fargo in New York City, had been with the company for just about a year, according to his LinkedIn page.
A company spokeswoman said Gilani is one of seven confirmed deaths in Tuesday night’s Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia.
“Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy,” a statement read.
Before joining Wells Fargo, Gilani had been with Marriott International for eight years.
Those missing included:
Rachel Jacobs, a leader in the increasingly technology-driven worker training and development industry, was commuting home to New York from her new job as CEO of the Philadelphia educational software startup ApprenNet.
The 39-year-old mother of two previously worked at McGraw-Hill, leading the expansion of the company’s career-learning business into China, India and the Middle East, and Ascend Learning, another education-technology firm.
Jacobs hadn’t been heard from since the crash. Her friends and colleagues searched frantically for her for hours. ApprenNet co-founder Emily Foote Williams went to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station in Philadelphia with her picture, and the company posted a message on Twitter saying it hoped she would be reunited with her family soon.
Jacobs was a founder and board chair at Detroit Nation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting startups in her Michigan hometown.
Through the organization, she helped bring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to New York for its first concert at Carnegie Hall in 17 years.
The nonprofit said on Facebook, “Our thoughts are with her friends and family as the search continues.”
Jacobs attended Swarthmore College and Columbia Business School. She joined ApprenNet in March and had planned on moving to Philadelphia.
Bob Gildersleeve, who’s from Maryland, is believed to have been on the Amtrak train that derailed. He has worked for Ecolab for 22 years and lives near Baltimore, company spokesman Roman Blahoski said.
Gildersleeve’s family was in Philadelphia, circulating his photo and information about what he was wearing. He had a ticket for the train that crashed Tuesday, his father said, and relatives have been unable to get information from Amtrak on his whereabouts.