Here's what Amtrak engineer told NTSB about deadly derailment

The Amtrak engineer on the train that derailed last month in Washington state told investigators he mistook a signal ...

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 8:19 PM
Updated: Jan. 26, 2018 8:19 PM

The Amtrak engineer on the train that derailed last month in Washington state told investigators he mistook a signal and braked moments before the deadly crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Amtrak Cascades Train 501 derailed December 18 near DuPont, Washington, and hurtled off an overpass onto Interstate 5, killing three people and injuring dozens more.

Amtrak train derailed last month near DuPont, Washington, killing three people

Engineer interviewed last week in investigation that could take up to two years

The safety board said Thursday that the 55-year-old engineer, who was interviewed last week after suffering serious injuries in the crash, told the agency the train was traveling at about 80 mph as it passed milepost 15.5 on its inaugural journey from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

The locomotive engineer was promoted to his position in 2013 after being hired as a conductor nine years earlier. He told the NTSB he planned to start braking about a mile before an upcoming curve with a 30-mph speed restriction at milepost 19.8.

The engineer said he saw mileposts 16 and 17, the NTSB said. But he did not recall seeing milepost 18 or the 30-mph advance speed sign two miles before the curve.

"The engineer said that he did see the wayside signal at milepost 19.8 (at the accident curve) but mistook it for another signal, which was north of the curve," according to the NTSB.

The engineer saw the 30-mph sign at the entrance to the curve and applied the brakes shortly before the train derailed and tumbled off the overpass as it entered the curve, the NTSB said.

The agency said in December that the engineer "made a comment regarding an over speed condition" about six seconds before the derailment.

The train conductor, who also suffered serious injuries, told investigators he was looking down at "general track bulletins" moments before the crash. He said he heard the engineer mumble something, looked up and sensed the train had become "airborne," according to the NTSB.

The safety board said the accounts of the two men will be compared with video from locomotive cameras as well as data recorder information and other sources.

The investigation could take up to two years.

The NTSB has said that technology called positive train control, or PTC, which can automatically slow down a speeding train, was not yet functional on the locomotive.

Article Comments

Mason City
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 75°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Rochester
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Patchy fog will take time to clear alongside some cloud cover, but sunshine will be around for the afternoon and evening!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

King weighs in on primaries

Image

Rep. Steve King comes to KIMT

Image

forecast 6:30am 8.17.2018

Image

Farmer's market highlighting latino community

Image

RPS study session talks disparities

Image

'Cop on a rooftop' raising funds for Special Olympics Minnesota

Image

Turbine concerns

Image

Donut Shop Reopens After Break-In

Image

Mohawks Eager to Start Season

Image

School Supplies Giveaway

Community Events