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The commuter train that jumped it’s tracks was barreling into a curve, going three times the speed that was posted for safety. It’s derailment killed four passengers.
The preliminary data from the event recorders aboard the train had clocked it at 82 mph as it went into the 30 mph curve. The data showed that the engineer cut the throttle and slammed on it’s breaks but those moves came too late. While the data off the event records are raw, meaning that it tells you what happened but not why.
According to investigators who questioned the engineer and his crew, the engineer said that he applied the brakes but the train never slowed down. The investigation is still going on but investigators have not seen any indication of brake problems thus far.
The report said that all seven of the coaches and the locomotive came off the tracks during the Sunday morning crash. Because of the crash, four people were killed and at least 67 more people were injured. Three people remained in critical condition Monday night while 16 others were still hospitalized.
The trains recorded speed showed that not only was it going far faster than the curve rated speed but also faster than the 70 m.p.h. limit posted for that section of the track that led into the curve. The force of the crash ripped apart the rails and a section of the track bed which led chunks of concrete strung every which way.
Police will also be looking at the engineer’s phone and recent work history. The preliminary review found no reason to believe that the engineer was using his phone at the time of the derailment.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer stated
For a train to be going 82 mph around that curve is just a frightening thought,The fact that it was going 82 mph even in the 70-mph zones before the curve started raises so many questions and is scary.
The Senator also stated that the tracks appeared to be in good shape. The preliminary also indicated that all the signals were working properly. He also said that it was still to early to blame anyone or anything at this time.
Workers lifted the rail cars back onto the tracks on the following day, police determined that there were no other bodies trapped in the wreckage. Authorities are also looking for a video that may have captured the derailment. However, railroad officials say there were no video cameras aboard the train.
The Metro-North Railroad inspects the tracks twice a week. The most recent inspection stated that track was ready for normal operations. A statement said that the train was not equipped with positive train control, meaning a high-tech system that is designed to slow down/stop the trains to prevent crashes cause by human error.
The railroad conducts routine drug and alcohol test on the crew members but has not released the results. The engineer appeared coherent at the scene and did not seem that he was intoxicated.
The people who were killed was: Donna L. Smith who was 54 years old, James G. Lovell who was 58 years old. James M. Ferrari who was 59 years old, and So Kisook Ahn who was 35 years old.
One of the survivors suffered a spinal cord injury. The injury could leave him paralyzed from the neck down. The man is a father to a 14 year old boy who was also on the train. The doctor who treated the train accident victims said that the patients with the severe fractures could be released from the hospital on Monday but they may require more treatment and mental health care after surviving such a devastating accident.
Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm
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