Engineer of Amtrak Train That Derailed in Philadelphia Says He Was Distracted by Radio Transmissions
An investigation into the fatal Amtrak train accident in Philadelphia that left eight people dead has reportedly revealed that the train engineer may have been distracted by radio transmissions just before the crash.
The stunning news was revealed in a briefing from a U.S. safety official with the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB). The comments were made anonymously because the NTSB is still conducting a probe to determine what exactly caused the train derailment.
The tragic train accident occurred near the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 12, 2015. The train, which originated in Washington, D.C. and was headed to New York, was reportedly traveling at twice the speed limit of 50 mph when it took a sharp curve and hopped the tracks.
Just a few days after the accident, Brandon Bostian, the train’s engineer, spoke with federal investigators and said that he was distracted while operating the train because he heard radio traffic coming from a commuter train operator. The radio chatter reportedly indicated that the commuter train had been hit by a rock, causing its windshield to shatter.
Although it was initially believed that the Amtrak train involved in the Philly derailment had also been hit by a rock, or some other projectile, investigators found no evidence that the train was struck prior to the accident.
The unofficial safety report acknowledges the possibility that the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed was distracted by radio transmissions. However, the report also finds that the train’s emergency windows had “issues” that may have resulted in a number of needless deaths. According to NTSB investigators, again speaking under condition of anonymity, a few of the train’s passengers were killed when they were ejected through the emergency windows.
Additionally, it is believed that law enforcement did not follow proper protocol when, in the aftermath of the train crash, they transported injury victims to a local hospital instead of waiting for ambulances and other emergency medical responders to arrive at the scene. As a result, the Philadelphia emergency management office is currently working on a “mass-casualty plan” that would allow for better coordination between local police and the fire department in the event of another major accident.
The NTSB hopes to avoid this kind of tragic accident in the future. The federal agency is taking steps to ensure that train engineers receive sufficient training so that they are better prepared to handle distractions.
Depending on the final outcome of the NTSB investigation into the train accident, the family members of the passengers who died could be in a position to file wrongful death claims against Amtrak for monetary damages. Additionally, the surviving passengers who sustained injuries in the trash crash may also file personal injury lawsuits against the railroad service.
Meanwhile, Bostian, the Amtrak train engineer, has been suspended without pay because the NTSB determined that he was speeding when the derailment occurred.
For more information about this high-profile personal injury case, go to the following article: Official: Radio transmissions distracted Amtrak engineer