Canadian executive among seven killed in Amtrak train crash

Wells Fargo said Wednesday that Abid Gilani, a senior vice-president at the company, was among the victims of Tuesday’s crash

TORONTO – A Canadian executive with a U.S. financial services company has been identified as one of seven people killed in an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia.

Wells Fargo said Wednesday that Abid Gilani, a senior vice-president at the company, was among the victims of Tuesday’s crash, which also left more than 200 people injured.

“It is with great sadness that Wells Fargo confirms that Abid Gilani, a valued member of our Commercial Real Estate division, has passed away,” the company said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy.”

A company spokeswoman said Gilani was a married father of two who split his time between Washington and New York.

Gilani’s wife told reporters in Rockville, Md., that her husband was a “dear person” and “a kind family man.”

“We have suffered a tremendous loss today,” Diane Gilani said Wednesday. “He’ll be sorely missed … he was really a wonderful person.”

Diane Gilani said she and her husband – both from Canada – moved to the United States “decades ago” but still have family ties in Ontario.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Gilani attended Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., and the University of Saskatchewan before working as a mine planning engineer in Saskatoon. He also worked for ScotiaBank and RBC Dominion Securities.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he spent about eight years with the Mariott International hotel chain.

The New York Daily News reported that Gilani, 55, was returning to New York from Virginia where he and his mother, who lives in Toronto, had attended his uncle’s funeral when the crash happened.

An Associated Press employee, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, the CEO of an educational startup and an official with a New York college were also among the dead. At least 10 people remained hospitalized in critical condition.

Federal investigators said Wednesday that the Washington-to-New York train was travelling at about 170 kilometres an hour before it ran off the rails along a sharp curve where the speed limit drops to just 80 km/h.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said the engineer had applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash but slowed the train to only 164 km/h by the time the locomotive’s black box stopped recording data.

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