© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Investigators: Amtrak Engineer May Have Lost Sense Of Place Before Deadly Crash

Emergency workers search for injured passengers after an Amtrak train carrying more than 230 people from Washington, D.C., to New York derailed in Philadelphia in May 2015.
Emergency workers search for injured passengers after an Amtrak train carrying more than 230 people from Washington, D.C., to New York derailed in Philadelphia in May 2015.

An Amtrak engineer might have lost track of where he was right before a passenger train derailed, killing eight people and injuring scores of others, federal investigators have found.

In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Brandon Bostian might have thought he was past a curve when he accelerated to 106 mph.

As we've reported, Bostian has told investigators he cannot remember what happened during the moments before the crash in Philadelphia. The train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members and had been headed from Washington, D.C., to New York City.

The Associated Press reports that NTSB investigator Steve Jenner said Bostian was distracted by radio traffic from another commuter train operator who was reporting that a rock had shattered his windshield.

Bostian took the curve in the 50-mph zone at more than twice the speed he should have and the train derailed.

The AP adds:

"Investigators said the derailment would not have happened had the stretch of track been equipped with positive train control, which automatically slows a train that's exceeding the speed limit.

"If the system had been in place, 'we would not be here today,' said Ted Turpin, an NTSB investigator."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

WFAE mask

Our newsroom is hard at work covering everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the aftermath of the election, the race for a vaccine and our communities' fight to rebuild. But we can't do it without you. Support our local journalism with a donation of ANY amount, and we’ll send you a free WFAE member mask courtesy of AllDayMask.com of Monroe.