Following the deadly crash of a passenger train in DuPont, Washington, National Transportation Safety Board Investigators arrived in the city Monday. The Amtrak train that spilled its cars from the tracks onto Interstate 5 below was found to be traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, NTSB board member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr told CNN.
Amtrak Safety Record Already Under Scrutiny Before Fatal Derailment It is too early to tell why the train was going that fast or if that was the cause of the deadly accident. Investigators will spend their first full day at the scene Tuesday and predict it could take months to find answers. Amtrak was already facing criticism about its safety records following a series of deadly crashes.
Positive Train Control, which automatically slows down and eventually stops a trains if the technology senses it is going too fast, was installed in the segment of tracks where the derailment happened. However, it was not operational yet, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson told CNN.
Geoff Patrick, spokesperson of Sound Transit, which owns the tracks where the train derailed said the goal was to have it working by Spring 2018.
According to Amtrak, there were approximately 80 passengers and five crew members on board the Amtrak Cascades 501 train. Three people died and more than 100 people were injured — 10 critically. All the deaths were passengers on the trains.
“We felt a little bit of a jolt and then at a certain point we could hear crumpling of the train car, and we were catapulted into the seats in front of us,” passenger Chris Karnes told CNN.
The train was making its inaugural trip on a new route between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Thirteen of its cars derailed, sending them tumbling off the tracks and onto the Interstate 5 overpass below around 7:40 a.m. PST about 20 miles south of Tacoma. At least five vehicles on the road collided with the train, but there were no fatalities of motorists, authorities reported.