Lawyer: We are going to hold Amtrak accountable for train derailment

Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are seeking answers about crash's cause in interviews with the train's engineer and a trainee conductor who were in the locomotive's cab.

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. The train took a 30 miles per hour curve at 80 miles per hour and plunged off an overpass, sending rail cars plummeting onto a busy highway south of Seattle. The devices captured the crew's actions, their conversations and other information, the NTSB said.

But while the engineer appeared to apply brakes, he didn't apply the emergency brakes, investigators said.

The recordings included comments by the engineer about six seconds before the derailment about "an over speed condition", the NTSB said in a statement.

"There's more that's not being said than that's being said, to me, as someone who's been involved in investigating accidents before".

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- The video recording ends as the locomotive was tilting and the crew was bracing for impact.

Work to install the GPS-based technology known as positive train control is not expected to be completed until next spring on the newly opened span where the train derailed, according to Sound Transit, the public agency that owns the tracks.

NTSB investigators have found that the train's emergency brakes were automatically activated during the derailment rather than being engaged manually by the engineer.

"The locomotive was in the process of getting a system of PTC installed, but it was not yet functional", NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr said. Railroad companies have until the end of 2018 and a possible extension to 2020 to implement the costly system. The records list crashes though May 2015 - when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people - and do not include Monday's wreck outside of Seattle, which experts say likely could have been prevented by the technology. The firm not filed any lawsuits so far.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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