Official: Radio transmissions distracted Amtrak engineer

(AP) -- An Amtrak engineer whose speeding train jumped the tracks along a curve in Philadelphia last year, killing eight people, was distracted by radio transmissions, a U.S. official briefed on the

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2016, 4:45 PM

Updated 2,890 days ago

Share:

Official: Radio transmissions distracted Amtrak engineer
(AP) -- An Amtrak engineer whose speeding train jumped the tracks along a curve in Philadelphia last year, killing eight people, was distracted by radio transmissions, a U.S. official briefed on the investigation said Monday.
Engineer Brandon Bostian told investigators three days after the May 12, 2015, crash that he recalled radio traffic that night from a commuter train operator who said a rock had shattered his windshield. The official was unable to say whether those were the transmissions that distracted Bostian, but the engineer spoke about no other radio chatter when interviewed by federal investigators, according to material released previously by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The official was not authorized to comment publicly because the probe is still underway and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The revelation came a day before the NTSB is scheduled to meet to detail the probable cause of last year's fatal derailment. The cause won't be determined officially until the board's vote at the conclusion of that meeting.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudsen said the agency would not comment ahead of Tuesday's hearing.
Bostian's attorney didn't immediately return an email sent after business hours on Monday. An Amtrak spokesman said the agency will have a comment after Tuesday's hearing.
The official briefed on the report's findings Monday said that investigators also believe there were some issues with the train's emergency windows and several people were killed because they were ejected through those windows.
The investigation also found police transported many of the injured people to the hospital instead of waiting for ambulances, the official said. The NTSB is expected to recommend that engineers be retrained about distractions and recommend the city wait for ambulances to take injured people to the hospital at mass-casualty incidents.
The city's emergency management office is finalizing a revised mass-casualty plan that will continue to allow police to transport victims but will aim for better coordination with the fire department, spokeswoman Noelle Foizen said.
Investigators are looking into why the train from Washington, D.C., to New York was going double the 50 mph limit around a sharp curve about 10 minutes after leaving Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.
Early in the investigation, the NTSB focused on whether the Amtrak train had been hit with a rock or other projectile minutes before the crash.
Bostian told investigators he was concerned about the welfare of the commuter train's engineer and "a little bit concerned" for his own safety, but he never indicated in either NTSB interview that his train had been struck.
"There's been so many times where I've had reports of rocks that I haven't seen anything, that I felt like it was unlikely that it would impact me," Bostian told investigators, adding that he figured whoever damaged the commuter train had probably left the area by the time he rolled through.
Trains operating in the Northeast are frequent targets of rock-throwing vandals. Other nearby trains reported being hit by rocks that evening not long before the derailment. A grapefruit-sized dent was found in the windshield of Amtrak 188's locomotive.
Bostian, regarded by friends for his safety-mindedness and love of railroading, has been suspended without pay since the crash. A letter from Amtrak in the NTSB files shows he was suspended for speeding.
The lack of clarity on what caused the train to speed has frustrated crash victims, some of whom have racked up millions of dollars in hospital bills and are continuing to rehabilitate from injuries. Dozens of victims have sued Amtrak for compensation.
___
Michael R. Sisak in Philadelphia contributed to this report.


More from News 12
0:45
NYPD: Protesters along Brooklyn Bridge arrested for blocking traffic

NYPD: Protesters along Brooklyn Bridge arrested for blocking traffic

2:01
Spring warmth in full effect with sunshine, temps in the 70s through Tuesday for NYC

Spring warmth in full effect with sunshine, temps in the 70s through Tuesday for NYC

1:35
E-bike shop owner in Flatbush behind bars, accused of unsafe conditions in his business

E-bike shop owner in Flatbush behind bars, accused of unsafe conditions in his business

2:03
Black Maternal Health Week: Mother discusses how her pregnancy inspired her to become a doctor

Black Maternal Health Week: Mother discusses how her pregnancy inspired her to become a doctor

1:22
City announces Project Home program to combat domestic violence

City announces Project Home program to combat domestic violence

1:36
It’s Tax Day: Bronx accountant breaks down what you should know

It’s Tax Day: Bronx accountant breaks down what you should know

1:30
NYPD: Williamsburg jewelry store robbed in broad daylight; incident caught on camera

NYPD: Williamsburg jewelry store robbed in broad daylight; incident caught on camera

2:00
FDNY: Mother, daughter injured in late night Sunset Park apartment fire

FDNY: Mother, daughter injured in late night Sunset Park apartment fire

1:43
Brooklyn resident helping Brooklyn Public Library by organizing races to raise funds

Brooklyn resident helping Brooklyn Public Library by organizing races to raise funds

0:22
NYPD: 2 men wanted in connection to Cypress Hills gunpoint robbery

NYPD: 2 men wanted in connection to Cypress Hills gunpoint robbery

0:26
Fire officials: 15 people injured in bus, truck crash in Downtown Brooklyn

Fire officials: 15 people injured in bus, truck crash in Downtown Brooklyn

1:27
NYPD deploys resources to places of worship amid increased Middle East tensions

NYPD deploys resources to places of worship amid increased Middle East tensions

1:40
Demonstrators outside Kings Plaza Mall push for changes to immigration policy

Demonstrators outside Kings Plaza Mall push for changes to immigration policy

1:17
Brooklyn Children’s Museum hosts ‘Celebrate Eid al-Fitr’ festival

Brooklyn Children’s Museum hosts ‘Celebrate Eid al-Fitr’ festival

0:25
Police: Man who punched 9-year-old girl at Grand Central Terminal arrested

Police: Man who punched 9-year-old girl at Grand Central Terminal arrested

2:32
Community advocates rally and call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

Community advocates rally and call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

2:39
‘A very dangerous time.’ NYC synagogues and Jewish organizations on high alert after Iran attack

‘A very dangerous time.’ NYC synagogues and Jewish organizations on high alert after Iran attack

0:43
NYPD: Victims identified, arrest made in Fordham crash that killed 2

NYPD: Victims identified, arrest made in Fordham crash that killed 2

0:58
Police: 3 New York City residents arrested for organized retail theft at New Jersey mall

Police: 3 New York City residents arrested for organized retail theft at New Jersey mall

2:04
CDC: Most women do not get a mammogram because of financial difficulties

CDC: Most women do not get a mammogram because of financial difficulties