eight victims

The Amtrak 188 victims: Justin Zemser, Jim Gaines, Rachel Jacobs, Abid Gilani, Derrick Griffith, Bob Gildersleeve, Giuseppe Piras and Laura Finamore

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Updated: 4 p.m. Thursday

An Amtrak Northeast Regional Train on its way to New York City derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, killing eight people and sending hundreds of passengers to local hospitals for treatment.

Officials have yet to determine a cause of the crash that happened near the Port Richmond neighborhood, not far northeast of Center City. We will update as we know more about the victims — eight people are confirmed dead and all have been identified.

Here’s what we know about them so far:

Justin Zemser, 20, of Rockaway Beach, N.Y.

Zemser’s death was confirmed by the Naval Academy, where Zemser was a sophomore Midshipman. According to his bio on Navy Sports, Zemser was the student government president at Channel View High School and a two-year letterwinner as a wide receiver on the football team.

“He was wonderful,” his mother, Susan, told NBC10. “He was absolutely wonderful. Everyone looked up to my son.”

Zemser was on leave from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and was on his way home to New York when the train crashed.

“Simply put, he was the best person I know,” his friend and fellow Midshipman Brandon Teel told CBS. “He made me better. We made each other better.”

According to his bio, he also played wide receiver on the Naval Academy’s Sprint Football Team. A survivor of Hurricane Sandy, Zemser was an only child and is survived by his parents, Howard and Susan.

Jim Gaines, 46, of Plainsboro, N.J.

Gaines, who was a father of two, was a video software architect for the Associated Press who was returning home after attending meetings in Washington, D.C.

According to the AP, Gaines joined the Associated Press in 1998 and won AP’s “Geek of the Month” award in May 2012 for his dedication to innovation. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt told employees in an email that Gaines “leaves behind a legacy of professionalism and critical accomplishment, kindness and humor.”

In 2006, Gaines and his team won the “Chairman’s Prize” for developing the Associated Press’ Online Video Network.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, a son, Oliver, who is 16, and a daughter, Anushka, who is 11.

Rachel Jacobs, 39, of Philadelphia

After being reported as missing for much of the day Wednesday, the New York Times reported Wednesday night that Rachel Jacobs, chief executive officer of a local startup, is among those who died in the crash.

Jacobs, who lived in New York with her husband and her 2-year-old, was in charge of ApprenNet, an education technology company based here in Philly at the Innovation Center @ 3401 in University City. According to Philly Mag, she’s originally from Detroit and attended Swarthmore College.

Jacobs’ family released a statement to the press saying, “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.”

Abid Gilani, 55, a Wells Fargo employee

Wells Fargo confirmed late Wednesday that Abid Gilani, a senior vice president in its commercial real estate division, died in the crash. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Gilani had worked there for only a year; before that, he spent six years working for Bethesda, Md.’s Marriott International.

According to Philly.com, Gilani was born in Asia, his wife, Diane, was born in North America, and both have connections to Canada.

He’s survived by a son and a daughter.

Derrick Griffith, 42, New York

City University of New York has confirmed that Derrick Griffith, the dean of student affairs at Medgar Evers College, died in the crash.

Griffith was the former executive director of Groundwork, Inc., an organization formed to support young people living in high-poverty urban communities. He joined Medgar Evers in 2011.

Griffith, who attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was a single dad in college and later got a master’s degree from the University of Rochester. Philly.com reports he was set to receive his doctorate in urban development from CUNY’s Graduate Center later this month.

Bob Gildersleeve, 45, of Baltimore, Md.

Gildersleeve, a father of two, was confirmed to be found dead Thursday morning after his family had pleaded for help all day Wednesday in locating him.

He was married and served as the vice president for corporate accounts at EcoLab, a food safety company. He’s survived by his wife, Danna, a 16-year-old daughter, Ryan, and a 13-year-old son, Marc.

Gildersleeve’s wife released a statement Thursday to NBC saying “He is a remarkable dad to our daughter Ryan and son Marc. He is a loving son, brother and is definitely the ‘fun’ uncle to his nieces and nephews. He is funny and sarcastic and lights up any room with his presence, humor and enthusiasm. He has been a dedicated employee and friend to his Ecolab family for over two decades. Our hearts are broken and we can’t imagine a life without him.”

Laura Finamore, 47, of Manhattan, N.Y.

The family of Laura Finamore confirmed to several news organizations Thursday that she was one of the eight victims to die in the Amtrak 188 train crash in Philadelphia.

Currently an employee at Cushman & Wakefield real estate management in New York, Finamore was born and raised in Douglaston, N.Y. According to NJ.com, she was on her way home from a memorial service in Washington, D.C. when the train derailed.

“Laura was an incredibly loving and giving person, touching many people each and every day through her generous spirit, thoughtfulness and compassion for others,” her family said in a statement to NJ.com. “She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.”

She’s survived by her parents, Cynthia and Richard, three brothers, and seven nieces and nephews.

Giuseppe Piras, 41, of Italy

The Italian Consulate in Philadelphia confirmed to reporters that Italian national Giuseppe Piras was among the dead following the Amtrak 188 crash. Italian media is reporting that he was in the United States on a business trip, and spoke to his father on the phone moments before boarding the train.

Photo courtesy of TODAY in Italy.

More updates as they become available.

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