Early NTSB review says crew not using electronic devices before Amtrak crash

Marcus Newton
December 25, 2017

Adding to the mystery, technology called positive train control, or PTC, which can automatically slow down a speeding train, wasn't activated.

Federal investigators trying to determine the cause of the wreck have gathered data from the locomotive's event data recorder as well as inward- and outward-facing train cameras.

The recording also shows the crew bracing for impact on the tilting train before the recording ended.

It's unclear why the train was traveling at a high speed in a 30-mph zone.

The footage collected by the NTSB showed none of the crew using any personal electronic devices such as cellphones, the agency said.

- About six seconds prior to the derailment, the engineer made a comment regarding an over speed condition.

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"What kind of brake application did he apply? I would've liked to see that information", said George Gavalla, former safety director for the Federal Railroad Administration, who is now a rail safety consultant.

The NTSB says the entire investigation is expected to last 12-24 months. The board has not concluded what caused the crash that killed three passengers, among the 85 passengers and crew members. They have said their full investigation could take more than a year.

The railroad company has committed to covering the entire cost of the derailment, from the medical expenses for the injured, to the costs associated with restoring passenger rail service to road fix.

More than 70 people were injured in the Monday morning derailment, in which several train cars fell from a bridge and onto a highway in the city of DuPont, about 20 miles south of Tacoma, authorities said.

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart testified before the House of Representatives following the 2015 Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia.

Data the NTSB provided to AP on Wednesday shows the crashes the NTSB says could've been prevented by positive train control have caused 298 deaths, 6,763 injuries and almost $385 million in property damage.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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