Human Error Possible Cause of Deadly May 12 Amtrak Crash
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Feb 16, 2016 in Train Accidents
Nine months after the deadly accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released hundreds of pages of reports from its investigation into the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train on May 12, 2015. The accident killed eight people and injured more than 200.
Investigations reported no problems with the train, tracks or signals at the site of the accident. Although the report did not place blame for the accident, it did leave open the possibility that the crash was caused by human error.
The documents included transcripts from in-depth interviews with the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian, providing greater insight into the moments leading up to the accident.
Interviews with the Engineer
The Amtrak train was traveling from Washington D.C. to New York, when it hurtled off the tracks in Philadelphia around 9 p.m. on May 12. Investigations revealed that the train was traveling 106 miles per hour going into the curve, which has a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour.
Three days after the incident, Bostian told investigators that he had injured his head in the crash and did not remember much of the accident. In a second interview, he was able to recall more about the moments before the crash.
Bostian said he remembered accelerating from 70 mph just before the crash, thinking that the speed limit on the upcoming stretch was 80 mph. Pushing the throttle to accelerate was the last thing he remembered before he found himself on the curve.
Just before the train derailed, he frantically applied the brakes before feeling the train tip to one side.
Bostian said that it was difficult to identify exactly where the curve began at night. The report also highlighted that he did not look for speed limit signs because he thought they were often missing or incorrect. It was however noted by Amtrak that a 50 mph speed limit sign was properly displayed for the curve.
The report stated that Bostian did not have drugs or alcohol in his system the night of the accident, was not under high stress levels and was not diagnosed with a sleep disorder. There was also no evidence that he was using his cellphone at the time of the crash.
Investigators are also looking into reports of trains in the area being hit with flying objects. Bostian heard about the incidents over the radio that day and recalled being concerned for his safety.
Victims of the train crash and surviving family members still have unanswered questions as to why the train was traveling at such a high speed. Justice has yet to come for their losses.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a train crash in Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C., our train accident attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.