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Old 17-05-15, 20:38   #1
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United States of America PhOtOs-Trains'Shot At' Before US Train Disaster>Officials Reveal

New Leads in Amtrak Train Disaster as Officials Reveal TWO Philadelphia-Area Trains were 'Shot At' Within Minutes of Crash That Killed Eight

  • Federal officials this weekend revealed the train that crashed Tuesday, killing 8, was one of two struck by objects that day
  • Investigators are now looking into the possibility the doomed train's windshield was struck in the moments before the crash
  • Amtrak, meanwhile, has been ordered to expand speed-restriction system in area of derailment in Philadelphia
  • NTSB investigators, however, said Sunday that no communication from the train indicated it had been hit by an object
AP, 17 May 2015

Two trains passing through Philadelphia were struck by objects within minutes of Tuesday's Amtrak derailment that killed eight and injured 200.

Now federal officials are looking into the possibility that the train's windshield was smashed in the moments before the train derailed, killing eight and leaving its conductor with no memory of the crash.
Along with the derailed train, a southbound Acela was reportedly struck on a passenger window and a Philadelphia commuter rail had its windshield shattered. All three incidents occurred within a few miles of each other.

Scroll down for video

Crack: The FBI is investigating what could have caused the small, focused crack (pictured lower right) on the windshield of the derailed Amtrak train

A SEPTA regional rail train was struck in the windshield about 9.10pm by an unknown object (pictured) Another Amtrak train was also hit that night - just a few miles from the derailment

A projectile hit a passenger window on this southbound Acela train in the Philadelphia area within minutes of Tuesday's derailment

Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian is said to have reported that something hit his windshield moments before the train derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday, however, that no communications from personnel leading up to the crash revealed any clues.

'We interviewed the dispatchers and we listened to the dispatch tape, and we heard no communications at all from the Amtrak engineer to the dispatch center to say that something had struck his train,' National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator Robert Sumwalt said

Personnel on the commuter train, part of Philadelphia's SEPTA system, believed the train had been shot at

Meanwhile, federal officials want Amtrak to immediately expand use of a speed-restriction system in the area of Tuesday's derailment to northbound trains like the one that went off the rails in Philadelphia at more than 100mph.

Saturday's speed-restriction announcement from the Federal Railroad Administration involves the automatic train control system.
The system notifies the engineer when a train is above the speed limit and automatically applies the brakes if the engineer doesn't respond.
It was already being used for southbound trains approaching the curve where the derailment occurred.

The agency also ordered Amtrak to analyze curves on the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington and install appropriate technology where needed.
Amtrak has said it hopes to restart limited service in the area on Monday and plans to install a next-generation system for the entire corridor by year's end.

The revelation that something might have the train came at a National Transportation Safety Board briefing on Friday evening, raising new questions about the accident.
NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt declined to speculate about the exact significance of a projectile, but the idea raised the possibility that the engineer might have been distracted, panicked or even wounded in the moments before the train left the rails.

Officials confirm Amtrak train was struck by object before crash

Officials work at the site of the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia on Wednesday after it derailed on Tuesday night

The train sped up to twice the speed limit when it was supposed to be slowing down as it entered a sharp bend in the tracks on its way from Washington to New York.
The NTSB said the FBI will focus its investigation on the windshield of the train.

Investigators revealed that two other trains had suffered cracked windows after being hit by unknown objects just minutes before the deadly crash and only a few miles apart.

An assistant conductor on Amtrak Train 188 has told NTSB investigators she heard Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostain say that his train had been hit by something. Seconds later, the train careened off the tracks.

Photos of the derailed train show a small, focused crack on the lower left part of the windshield - though it's unknown whether the damage occurred before or after the crash.

Bostian's comment was in response to a report from a SEPTA regional rail engineer, who radioed in to say his train had been 'hit by a rock or shot at' in the area about 9.10pm Tuesday. The projectile shattered the windshield of the northbound SEPTA train.

Five minutes earlier, a projectile cracked a window of a different Amtrak train - a southbound Acela Express - about 9.05pm.
Train 188, which was headed north from Philadelphia to New York, derailed at 9.21pm.
All of the reported hits came within just a few miles of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.

SEPTA, Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, said there's no indication the object that hit the commuter rail train is related to the Amtrak derailment.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Friday reports of an unknown projectile 'had nothing to do' with the deadly crash.

On Friday, the NTSB revealed that a 39-year-old Amtrak assistant conductor aboard the doomed train told investigators that she overheard Bostian talking over the radio with a SEPTA engineer about something that hit his windshield.
NTSB spokesperson Robert Sumwalt said: 'Right after she recalled hearing this conversation between her engineer and the SEPTA engineer she said her train leaned over on its side.'

Sumwalt said his team has 'seen damage to the left hand lower portion of the Amtrak windshield' and has asked the FBI to look at it to see if it was struck by an object.

The FBI will provide technical assistance in examining the front of the Amtrak locomotive.
Another Amtrak train was hit on the left side by a projectile on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Passenger Madison Calvert was sitting next to the window that was hit about 9.05pm.
He said: 'I just thought somebody might have thrown something at it.
'I had no idea. The window didn't break through. But it shattered.'

Calvert, who has been riding Amtrak trains at least twice a month for the last ten years said this is the first time he's seen a window shatter.
''I thought it was a rock or a battery,' 'It sounded like a rock hitting a windshield.'

A passenger on the Amtrak Acela train posted a photo of his cracked windshield to Twitter, questioning if it had something to do with the derailing.
The damage was documented by Amtrak police.

SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said on Wednesday that they do not know what the projectile that struck the regional train was, but it broke the engineer's window around 9.10pm near SEPTA's North Philadelphia station.
The engineer of the derailed Amtrak train, 32-year-old Bostian, has been 'extremely cooperative' but told NTSB officials he couldn't recall what happened in the crash in Philadelphia.
Bostian's lawyer said earlier his client suffered a concussion in the wreck and had no recollection of the wreck.

The lawyer added Bostian hadn't been using his cellphone and hadn't been drinking or using drugs but investigators won't have results of toxicology tests on the engineer for 'some time'.

The Northeast Regional train derailed at a curve.
Investigators say the train sped up from 70 mph to more than 100 mph in the minute before it went into the curve.
The NTSB is looking to see if any mechanical anomaly could explain the sudden acceleration.

Rescue workers search for victims in the wreckage of the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia that killed eight and injured 200 people

The stretch of track is not yet equipped with a positive train control system that would put the brakes on a train exceeding the speed limit.
That means that for now, engineers have to rely on their knowledge of the tracks and a printed timetable rather than sophisticated signals to tell them when to slow down.

Before the news of an object possibly hitting the train, Ed Dobranetski, the NTSB's former chief railroad crash investigator, said there would be many questions for the engineer because of the abrupt speedup.

'It doesn't accelerate by itself. It doesn't go into cruise control,' Dobranetski said. 'Somebody's got a lot of explaining to do.'

James Weir, a friend of Bostian's since they were teenagers in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, said he called the engineer after hearing about the wreck, but that his friend was hospitalized and could not say much.
As a teenager, Bostian was a safe driver who would not go even 5 mph over the speed limit, he said.

'Whenever I would drive, I'd tend to go a little over and he'd fuss at me. He'd tell me to slow down. He's just not the kind of guy that breaks the rules,' Weir said. 'He puts safety ahead of everything.'

On Friday, the first funeral was held for one of those killed in the wreck. U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Justin Zemser, 20, was laid to rest on Long Island.

Derailed Amtrak train was Going TWICE the Speed Limit

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