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Video: Train crew not using electronic devices before crash

  • FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2017, file photo, cars from an Amtrak train lie spilled onto Interstate 5 below alongside smashed vehicles as some train cars remain on the tracks above in DuPont, Wash. Federal investigators say video aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Washington state shows crews weren't using personal electronic devices and that the engineer remarked about the speed six seconds before the train went off the tracks south of Seattle. (/Elaine Thompson, File) AP Photo

  • FILE- In this Dec. 18, 2017, file photo, cars from an Amtrak train that derailed lie spilled onto Interstate 5 in DuPont, Wash. Federal investigators say video aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Washington state shows crews weren't using personal electronic devices and that the engineer remarked about the speed six seconds before the train went off the tracks south of Seattle. (Bettina Hansen /The Seattle Times via AP, File) Bettina Hansen



Associated Press
Friday, December 22, 2017

SEATTLE — Video from the cab of the Amtrak train that hurtled off the tracks in Washington state, killing three people and injuring dozens, shows that the engineer did not appear to be using a cellphone or any other personal electronic device just before the derailment, federal investigators said Friday.

The video and audio captured from a camera facing inside the cab also revealed that the engineer was heard commenting about the train’s speed just before the train crashed while traveling more than double the posted 30 mph speed limit. But authorities did not provide a transcript of what he said, saying only in a summary that “about six seconds prior to the derailment, the engineer made a comment regarding an over speed condition.”

The video also showed that the engineer did not place the train’s brake handle in the emergency-braking mode as the locomotive was recorded traveling 78 mph , according to the preliminary details of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The video recording “ended as the locomotive was tilting and the crew was bracing for impact” south of Seattle on Monday, the safety board said.

The train was carrying 85 passengers and crew members as it made its inaugural run along a fast, new 15-mile bypass route. Officials have said previously that another person was inside the locomotive’s cab being trained by the engineer.

Federal investigators trying to determine the cause of the wreck have gathered data from the locomotive’s event data recorder as well as inward- and outward-facing train cameras. They have said their full investigation could take more than a year.

NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said earlier this week that the locomotive’s emergency brake went off automatically and was not manually activated by the engineer.

Rail-safety experts have said the engineer should have activated the brake about a minute before the train reached the curve.