PHILADELPHIA (TIP): Amtrak Train 188 was going from Washington to New York when it derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 12 night, leaving eight people dead and more than 200 injured.
The New York National Guard has been deployed to assist local authorities in Philadelphia. The lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board says the Amtrak train sped up for a full minute before it derailed at a sharp curve.
Board member Robert Sumwalt says a camera mounted on the front of the train shows it was going 70 mph 65 seconds before the video went dark.
By 16 seconds before the crash, the train had increased to 100 mph, soon reaching 106 mph right before entering a 50 mph section.
Investigators are still unsure why the train was speeding up.
Sumwalt says inspection records show no anomalies with the track, signals or train itself. It had left Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station on time.
He says engineer Brandon Bostian has agreed to speak to NTSB investigators in the next few days.
As emergency crews continued to dig through the wreckage, lawmakers in Washington debated the future of Amtrak’s budget, with one spending committee voting to slash their funding by almost a fifth.
“We are divesting from America,” accused one member of Congress.
“Don’t use this tragedy in that way,” another Congressman responded angrily.
Congress has only 18 more days before federal funding for transportation infrastructure expires, but the funding is likely to be temporarily extended.
Amtrak is a national publicly funded rail service, serving tens of millions of people every year.
The crash happened not far from the site of a derailment in 1943 that killed 79 people, one of the worst train accidents in the US.