Chatsworth death toll at least 24, engineer to blame *

The 18th victim, possibly the Union Pacific freight train engineer, was pulled from the scene about 8:45 am. Authorities say that more bodies remain in the wreckage of Metrolink train 111. The official toll includes 45 critical injuries, 40 other serious injuries, and 50 people with minor injuries. In all forty of the victims were flown to hospitals by helicopter and all 12 Los Angeles area trauma centers received patients. The black boxes have yet to be recovered.

* Saturday updates:

  • KPCC will air a one-hour special at noon (89.3 FM.) John Rabe will host. "Off-Ramp" is scheduled to air an hour later than usual at 1 pm. 10:21 am
  • The noon time press briefing raised the number of confirmed dead to 24, with more expected. Also, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell acknowledged that the Metrolink train's engineer ran a red light and caused the crash. "We want to be honest in our appraisal," she said at the scene. "Barring any information from the NTSB, we believe our engineer failed to stop and that was the cause of the accident." Tyrrell said the engineer was not a Metrolink employee but a subcontractor for Veolia Transportation and a former Amtrak employee. The engineer is believed to have died in the crash. LAT 1:45 pm
  • The data recorders, or black boxes, have been recovered by the NTSB, which will hold a news briefing after 5 pm, according to media reports. 1:52 pm
  • About 150 blood and platelet donors turned out at UCLA this morning, triple the usual number for a Saturday. "Nearly every chair in the waiting room at the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center was filled this morning, and the line to register curled to the door," said the Times. 3:20 pm

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