Jim Gaines, AP tech staffer, dies in Amtrak derailment
PLAINSBORO, N.J. (AP) — Jim Gaines, an Associated Press video software architect known for his "tireless dedication" to technological innovation, was killed in an Amtrak train derailment Tuesday night in Philadelphia. He was 48.
The father of two was headed to his Plainsboro, New Jersey, home after attending meetings at the news agency's Washington, D.C., office. Doctors say he suffered massive chest trauma in the accident and died around midnight at Temple University Hospital.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Gaines' family expressed thanks for the prayers and support it has received while also asking for privacy as they "absorb this incredible loss."
"Jim was more precious to us than we can adequately express," the statement read. "In due time, we will make a statement that will fully reflect the incredible person that Jim was."
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 for development of the agency's Online Video Network. He also was named the news agency's "Geek of the Month" in May 2012 for his "tireless dedication and contagious passion" to technological innovation.
"Aside from being a great human being, he was very, very skilled at what he did and he won a lot of awards here and I think that comes from his patience and his ability to dig into a lot of details with a wide range of different types of people," said Paul Caluori, the AP's global director of digital services.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt voiced similar views, telling employees in an email that Gaines "leaves behind a legacy of professionalism and critical accomplishment, kindness and humor. He will be missed."
Gaines' survivors include his wife, Jacqueline; his son, Oliver, 16, and daughter, Anushka, 11.
The news of Gaines' death left his colleagues stunned.
"There's shock, everybody's surprised, can't understand why such a good person would disappear. And there's just a great appreciation for who he was and what an example he set for how we should live," Caluori said. "Probably the most poignant thing somebody said to me today was: 'Remember Jim, be kind today.'"