DUPONT, Wash. – The Amtrak train that plunged off a viaduct to the south of Seattle, killing at least three people, was hurtling 50 mph over the speed limit when it jumped the track, federal investigators say.
Bella Dinh-Zarr, a National Transportation Safety Board member, said late Monday that the data recorder in the rear locomotive turned out to be the train ride of 80 km / h in a 30 km / h zone when it derailed along a curve, in which a number of the cars on an interstate highway below.
Dinh-Zarr said: it is not yet known what caused the train to run off the rails and it is too early to say why it went so quickly. She said that researchers talk with the engineer and other members of the crew. In the previous wrecks, the researchers looked at whether the driver was distracted or turned off.
The engineer, whose name was not released, was bleeding from the head after the wreck, and both eyes were swollen shut, according to the uk audio.
The train, with 85 passengers and crew members, was making the inaugural walk along a new bypass route that was created by the upgrading freight tracks along the Interstate 5. The 15-metre, $180.7 million project aimed at speeding up the service by avoiding a route with a number of bends, single-track tunnels and freight transport.
Positive train control technology, which can automatically slow or stop a speeding train was not in use on this stretch of the track, according to Amtrak President Richard Anderson.
Supervisors have the operation of railways for the years to install such technology, but the deadline has been extended repeatedly on the industry and on request, it is now the end of 2018.
The 7:34 a.m. accident left mangled train cars on top of each other, with one hanging precariously over the highway. The screech and clang of metal was followed by silence, then screams of the injured cried out to the workers and the driver pulled over and rushed to help.
More than 70 people were injured, including 10 seriously.
Train passenger Emma Shafer found himself in an angle of 45 degrees, staring at the chairs in front of her that had come loose and turned around.
“It felt strangely quiet after the actual crash,” she said. “Then there was people screaming because their leg was in the war. … I don’t know if I actually heard the sirens, but they were there. A man was like, ‘Hey, I’m Robert. We get you out of here.'”
One of the dead was identified as Zack Willhoite, a customer service employee at a local transit agency and a railroad buff excited to be on the first passenger run of the new route. He was a member of All Aboard Washington, an organization of rail advocates.
The executive director, Lloyd Flem, said it was a given Willhoite would be on the trip. “It is pretty awful. We have a difficult time,” Flem said.
In 2015, an Amtrak train that is twice the 50 mph speed limit, ran off the rails along a sharp corner in Philadelphia, killing eight people. The researchers concluded that the engineer was distracted by reports on the radio of the other train hit by a stone.
In September, a judge threw out charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment against the engineer, and says that the wreck does not appear to rise to a crime. Prosecutors are trying to get the case reinstated.
In the state of Washington crash, speed signs were placed on 2 miles (3 kilometers) to the speed zone changed, according to Kimberly Reason of Sound Transit, the Seattle-area transit agency that is the owner of the tracks.
Eric Corp, a councilman for the small town of DuPont, in the vicinity of the derailment site, said he rode the train with about 30 or so dignitaries and others on a special trip Friday before the service opened to the public on Monday.
“As soon as we came on that curve, the train slowed down considerably,” he said.
After the Philadelphia wreck, Amtrak agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims filed by the victims and their families. It also has installed positive train control on all of the track between Boston and Washington.
The national transportation safety board Dinh-Zarr said it is too early to say whether positive train control would have prevented Monday’s tragedy.
This story has been updated to indicate that the authorities said Monday night that three people died. A U.S. official said earlier that six people were killed.
Flaccus reported from Portland and Sisak reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press staff members Manuel Valdes in Dupont, Sally Ho and Le Phuong in Seattle and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
For the full coverage of the deadly derailment, click here: https://www.apnews.com/tag/TrainDerailment