NTSB Team In Philadelphia To Investigate Amtrak Derailment

May 13, 2015

Teams from the National Transportation Safety Board are now in Philadelphia to investigate the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, which killed six people and injured dozens more Tuesday night.

Rescue crews worked through the night, but officials were waiting for day break to send in heavy machinery and cranes into the scene. Television images showed several train cars on their sides, another looked completely shredded.

The train, which was headed to New York City from Washington, D.C., derailed in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia. Officials have not yet indicated what caused the derailment.

During a press conference, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that investigators had recovered the train’s event recorder, or black box, and sent it to Delaware for analysis.

“We have no information from that particular device at all, yet,” Nutter said.

Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB board member, said that box would be key in the investigation because it would give a readout of how fast the train was traveling or if the engineers had braked or sped up.

Sumwalt said authorities would be providing more details later in the afternoon.

Amtrak cancelled service between New York and Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this is believed to be the deadliest crash on the Northeast Corridor since 1987, when a passenger train collided with a freight train and killed 16 people near Baltimore.

As we reported, last night, Nutter called the scene a “disastrous mess.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he added. “We have train cars that are on their sides, ripped apart.”

We’ll update this post with the latest news as it develops.

Update at 10:38 a.m. ET. Black Box Recovered:

During a press conference, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that investigators had recovered the train’s event recorder, or black box, and sent it to Delaware for analysis.

“We have no information from that particular device at all” yet, Nutter said.

Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB board member, said that box would be key in the investigation because it would give a readout of how fast the train was traveling or if the engineers had braked or sped up.

Sumwalt said authorities would be providing more details later in the afternoon.

Nutter said that area hospitals had treated more than 200 people. He said they are still trying to find some people on the passenger manifesto provided by Amtrak.

Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. Now On The Scene:

An NTSB team is now the scene, the agency said in a tweet. We are awaiting a 10 a.m. briefing from Mayor Nutter.

Update at 7:09 a.m. ET. Six Dead:

Temple University Hospital Chief Medical Officer Herbert Cushing said that one more person had died at the hospital last night.

That brings the death toll in the derailment to six.

Cushing said that most of the injuries were fractures to the arms, legs and ribs.

He said that 25 people were treated and released from that hospital and 25 additional people were still at the hospital. Eight patients, said Cushing, are in critical condition.

Update at 6:44 a.m. ET. The Cause?

Officials have not yet indicated what caused the derailment. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was asked if the train was going too fast.

“The only thing I can tell you is the the one obvious thing and the one known fact–there is a curve,” Nutter said. “We have no idea what kind of speed we’re talking about, what else happened out there and I’m not going to speculate on it.”

Update at 6:42 a.m. ET. The Latest On Service:

From NPR, here’s what service along the Northeast Corridor will look like today:

“On Wednesday, May 13, modified Amtrak service will be provided between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston. There will be no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia, but New Jersey Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between New York City and Trenton.”

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.