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Amtrak says it will review regulators' findings on Philadelphia crash

Written by The Associated Press | May 17, 2016 12:33 PM
Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia

Photo by AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The crash site on the morning of May 13.

(Washington) -- Amtrak says it will carefully review federal regulators' findings on the probable cause of a train derailment that killed eight people in Philadelphia last year.

Federal regulators said in Washington Tuesday that the probable cause was an engineer speeding into a turn because he was distracted by news that another train had been hit by a rock. A contributing cause was the lack of a speed control system.

Amtrak says it will review and as appropriate quickly implement the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board. Their recommendations included researching seat belts in rail cars and methods to secure luggage that can become projectiles in a derailment.

Amtrak says its goal is to fully understand what happened and how they can prevent similar incidents in the future.

An earlier version is below:

A member of the National Transportation Safety Board says an Amtrak engineer went ``from distraction to disaster .... in a matter of seconds'' before the deadly Philadelphia crash that killed eight people. 

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said Tuesday at a hearing that the potential for human error should be backstopped by technological systems such as Positive Train Control, which would have slowed the train even if the engineer tried to speed up on a curve.

Investigators believe engineer Brandon Bostian's attention was diverted by a disabled commuter train nearby that had been hit by a rock. They believe Bostian might have lost track of where he was and sped up on a dangerous curve before reaching the straight portion of track on May 12, 2015.

The original story is below:

Investigators say an Amtrak engineer might have lost track of where he was before accelerating into a dangerous curve, leading to a deadly Philadelphia crash that killed eight people.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Steve Jenner says Brandon Bostian's attention was diverted by an incident involving a commuter train being hit by a rock.

Jenner says Bostian opened the train up to full throttle for 40 seconds before the derailment and the train reached 106 mph. He says that would make sense for someone thinking they had already passed the curve.

Investigators also say that the train's emergency windows dislodged as the train cars slid on their sides, killing four people who were ejected.

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart says speed controls on the tracks would have provided a technological safety net.

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