Philadelphia, May 13, 2015. According to multiple news services, federal investigators from the NTSB responded to determine why an Amtrak train derailed outside Philadelphia that killed at least six people and injured up to 100 others. Many passengers remain unaccounted for.
The Amtrak train was en route from Washington D.C. to New York with 238 passengers. Just after 9 p.m. on May 12, 2015, the train derailed just outside Philadelphia as it was rounding a sharp curve. All seven rail cars derailed and were in various stages of disarray. The second car was completely ripped apart, according to NBC Philadelphia online and the Associated Press.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately known, though ABC News reported that the event data recorder, more commonly known as the “black box,” has been recovered by investigators. The black box will provide data about the operation of the train at the time of the crash. The NTSB will also determine if there was anything wrong with track conditions or the infrastructure of the tracks. CNN quoted the FBI as saying there is no inclination that terrorism was a factor in the derailment.
The area where the crash occurred is known as the Frankford Junction, which has a severe curve and was the site of a 1943 crash on Labor Day weekend, which resulted in 79 deaths and over 100 injuries.
When major transportation incidents like this occur, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are called in to determine the crash causes and responsibility, as well as the measures that should be taken to prevent crashes like this in the future. Derailments can occur due to operator failure, malfunction of the train or tracks, and a variety of other reasons. Crashes like this may also be caused when vehicles get stuck on train tracks or when people do not observe rail road crossing signals.
Unfortunately, this crash was the latest in a series of rail accidents on heavily traveled train routes in the past several years. For instance, at approximately 2:50 a.m. on March 24, 2014, a CTA operator operating a blue line train in Chicago, Illinois, dozed off while operating the train and did not wake up until the CTA train derailed and slammed into an escalator at O’Hare International Airport. Luckily, there were no fatalities.
Similar to the recent crash in Philadelphia, on December 1, 2013, a Metro-North passenger train carrying 115 passengers derailed in the Bronx, New York, while going around a sharp curve. The operator of the train admitted that before reaching the curve he had gone into a “daze,” and it was determined that the train had gone into the curve at nearly three times the posted speed limit. That crash resulted in four fatalities and 61 injured passengers.
Transportation accident cases require a sophisticated and aggressive team that has extensive experience in these complex cases. If you have been injured in a transportation accident, including train, bus, car, truck, and motorcycle crashes, call 800-349-2414 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Kupets & DeCaro, P.C. about your case.