What We Know So Far
- Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City, derailed at 9:21 p.m. just north of Philadelphia, federal officials said.
- The train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members.
- Eight passengers were killed and more than 200 passengers were injured, including at least eight who suffered critical injuries.
- The National Transportation Safety Board said the train was traveling 106 mph — more than twice the speed limit — moments before derailing.
- The train's engineer has been identified as Brandon Bostian; an attorney for Bostian says the engineer has "no recollection whatsoever" of the crash.
- Two crew members and four passengers have filed a total of three civil lawsuits against Amtrak in the wake of the crash.
Federal investigators said Wednesday that they are checking the Amtrak engineer’s cell phone records to determine if it was in use when the crash occurred.
The cell phone was in use during the day of the crash, but the National Transportation Safety Board is still correlating the phone's time stamps with data from the Amtrak's recorders and video footage to determine if it was being used when the crash happened.
The statement on Wednesday also said that signal systems revealed nothing unusual and there were no malfunctions.
Following the crash, experts called for improvements to Amtrak's safety systems, including so-called Positive Train Control, which automatically slows trains traveling over a certain speed limit.
The system is already in place for southbound trains at the site where the derailment occurred, but not on the northbound tracks, which the Department of Transportation has instructed Amtrak change.
A second Amtrak employee sued the company on Tuesday for injuries sustained during the crash.
Emilo Fonseca, an Amtrak conductor, was one of the five crew members operating train 188 when it derailed last week. His civil complaint, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, is the third lawsuit filed against the company in the wake of the fatal crash, and the second one brought by an Amtrak employee.
In the complaint, Fonseca argues that he suffered "serious and permanent personal injuries" that "may end his railroad career" as a consequence of Amtrak's negligence. He argues that he is eligible for compensation under the Federal Employer's Liability Act.
Bruce Nagel, Fonseca's attorney, said in a statement that his client had suffered "numerous broken bones" and "head trauma."
"We are thankful that Amtrak has taken full responsibility," Nagel said. "Our prayers go to those who did not survive this tragedy."
The FBI found no evidence that the Amtrak train that derailed was hit by a gunshot, the NTSB said on Monday.
Four passengers of the derailed train filed a federal lawsuit against Amtrak on Monday.
The civil complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, asks the train network to pay for the passenger's medical bills and lost wages. In accordance with state law, it does not ask for a specific amount.
The plaintiffs in the new complaint include two Spanish nationals as well as residents of New York and New Jersey. The passengers suffered injuries ranging from broken ribs and concussions to a "nearly-severed arm," NBC reported.
"Speed kills, and it's evident that's what happened in this case," Robert Mongaluzzi, an attorney for the passengers, told BuzzFeed News. " An engineer operating a train filled with 238 passengers has a sacred obligation to operate safely so that everyone can return to their families, and he violated that sacred oblation."
Mongaluzzi said he plans to press on the fact that Amtrak had installed Automatic Train Control — a safety system that could have prevented last week's fatal crash — on the south-bound tracks near the incident, but not on the north-bound tracks. He declined to say whether he intends to represent more passengers in future lawsuits.
Monday's complaint is the second lawsuit filed against Amtrak in the wake of the crash. Last week, an Amtrak employee who was traveling on the derailed train as part of his job — but was not a member of the crew — filed a separate federal lawsuit asking for $150,000 under the Employer's Liability Act.
In 1997, Congress set a $200 million limit to the amount Amtrak could be required to pay in damages resulting from a single train incident, the Associated Press reported. The payout celling, designed to save the money-losing network from bankruptcy, could significantly reduce the amount received by each passenger.
Amtrak service in the Northeast Corridor will be fully restored Monday morning after last week's deadly derailment in Philadelphia.
"The safety of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority," Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement Sunday afternoon. "Our infrastructure repairs have been made with the utmost care and emphasis on infrastructure integrity including complete compliance with Federal Railroad Administration directives."
"Amtrak staff and crew have been working around the clock to repair the infrastructure necessary to restore service for all the passengers who travel along the Northeast Corridor."
Beginning with departures in Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York City at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111), all Amtrak Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services will resume, the rail operator said.
Travel in that portion had been suspended since Tuesday night's deadly derailment.
Investigators have found no communication from the engineer of the derailed Amtrak train to suggest a projectile hit the train, according to a National Transportation Safety Board official.
NTSB lead investigator Robert Sumwalt told ABC News officials are still continuing to assess whether an object hit the train, but heard nothing from engineer Brandon Bastion on dispatch tape suggesting a projectile had struck the train.
"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," Sumwalt said. "Nothing at all."
Bastion has told investigators he has no memory of the fatal crash.
Watch the full interview here:
Following the deadly crash in Philadelphia, the Federal Railroad Administration on Saturday ordered Amtrak to implement several procedures to improve safety on the railway's northeast corridor, officials announced.
The Department of Transportation agency instructed Amtrak to introduce technology to control train speeds, assess risk at all curves on the northeast corridor, and implement speed limit signage, the group said in a statement.
The instructions will be formalized in the coming days through an "Emergency Order," according to the FRA.
"The actions we have instructed Amtrak to take are aimed at improving safety on this corridor immediately, but we won't hesitate to require the railroad to do more to improve safety as the accident's causes become clearer," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the statement.
The technology to control train speeds, known as "automatic train control," automatically stops speeding trains. Officials have said the technology would have prevented Tuesday's crash, where the train derailed at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour, more than twice the speed limit.
The system is already in place for southbound trains on the site where the accident occurred.
"These are just initial steps, but we believe they will immediately improve safety for passengers on the northeast corridor," said Sarah Feinbwerg, acting federal railroad administrator.
Nine patients remain at Temple University Hospital, and five are in critical condition, a spokesman said.
An Amtrak employee who was on the train that derailed has filed a federal lawsuit against the company, according to a complaint logged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Thursday.
The employee, Bruce Phillips, was not a member of the crew that was operating the train when it derailed on Tuesday, but was riding the train as a part of his job. His civil lawsuit, filed under the Federal Employer's Liability Act, is asking for $150,000 in damages.
According to the lawsuit, Phillips sustained "traumatic brain injury, multiple contusions and lacerations of the body, and multiple orthopedic and neurological injuries" as well as emotional trauma.
The complaint alleges that Amtrak acted negligently by "operating the train at a speed and in a manner that was unsafe in light of the geographic conditions and the train and track configuration, failing to have sufficient personnel to safely operate the train, [and] failing to provide available, necessary, and appropriate systems to slow and/or stop the train."
"It's just inconceivable that a train was traveling at that speed going into a curve," Robert Myers, one of the attorneys representing Phillips, told BuzzFeed News. "Don't airplanes have two people in front of the plane? Why don't trains have more than one engineer?"
Myers' firm — Coffey, Kaye, Myers, and Offey — specializes in representing railroad passengers and employees. Asked whether he plans to file more lawsuits stemming from Tuesday's crash, he said that he is "investigating other matters."
Amtrak did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the whole complaint here.
Twelve patients are being treated at Temple University Hospital, and five are in critical condition, a spokesman said.
The CEO of Amtrak said the rail company takes full responsibility for the derailment in a Thursday blog post.
"Amtrak takes full responsibility and deeply apologizes for our role in this tragic event," president and CEO Joe Boardman wrote.
Boardman said the company is working with the families of those affected to pay for some medical and funeral costs. The company set up a "family assistance center" in Philadelphia after the derailment.
"We recognize that for everyone onboard the train, including those who suffered injuries, the healing process may be long," he wrote.
Boardman also thanked first responders and Philadelphia officials. He assured passengers and employees that safety remains Amtrak's No. 1 priority.
"Our goal is to fully understand what happened and how we can prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future," he said. "We will also continue to focus on completing Positive Train Control implementation in the Northeast Corridor by December of 2015."
Amtrak train 188 began accelerating a minute before it crashed, speeding from 70 mph to 106 mph before the engineer put on the brakes.
The engineer, identified as Brandon Bostian, has agreed to speak with NTSB investigators, Sumwalt said.
"We look forward to that opportunity," Sumwalt said. "We will be meeting with him in the next few days."
Forward-facing video from the train is of good quality, Sumwalt said, and told investigators the speed of the train before its derailment. The recording goes blank seconds after the train enters the curve.
"We can see the train tilting approximately 10 degrees to the right, and then the recording went blank," Sumwalt said.
According to the NTSB timeline:
*65 seconds before the recording ended, the train's speed rose above 70 mph *43 seconds before, its speed exceeded 80 mph *31 seconds before, its speed passed 90 mph *16 seconds before, its speed was at 100 mph
The engineer began to brake as the train entered the curve, Sumwalt said. He added he could not yet answer questions of what the timeline of the train's speed meant.
"At this point, that would be analysis," he said. "Not now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we could make some determination of that once we really get into it."
Investigators have also began interviewing passengers who were injured to determine where they were sitting and how the derailment injured them. Other interviews have included train dispatchers and the Amtrak manager in charge of training and qualifying engineers.
Bostian would have had to qualify first as an engineer, then specifically test he was qualified to run a specific route.
"Part of their testing to become qualified is to know every speed restriction," Sumwalt said.
Other checks signals and maintenance records have found no anomalies so far, he added, but the investigation is ongoing. The track has been returned to Amtrak, who will begin repairs. Once repairs are complete, the NTSB will run a train under similar weather and lighting conditions to see how far away the curve is visible to an engineer.
Investigators are also waiting on the results of drug and alcohol screening of the engineer.
Laura Finamore of New York and Giuseppe Piras of Italy were the last of the eight people known to have died in the Amtrak derailment to be identified Thursday.
Finamore, 47, was on her way back to New York from a memorial service when the trian crashed Tuesday night, the Associated Press reported.
A spokesperson for the family told the AP that relatives were told one of the victims fit Finamore's description, but dental records were needed to identify her. She was a senior account director at Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate company.
The Italian government also confirmed Thursday that one of its citizens, Piras, was among the dead in the crash, according to AP.
Officials said he was in the United States for work.
Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said Thursday he hopes to return full service to the Northeast Corridor by Monday or Tuesday.
11 patients from the Amtrak crash remained at Temple University Hospital, six of them in critical condition, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Herbert Cushing told BuzzFeed News on Thursday.
Another victim in the Amtrak crash has been identified as Baltimore businessman Bob Gildersleeve, his company confirmed in a statement.
Ecolab CEO Doug Baker issued the following statement on Thursday:
We have been notified that our associate, Bob Gildersleeve, lost his life in the Amtrak train derailment Tuesday night. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague. Bob was with Ecolab for 22 years, most recently as vice president of Corporate Accounts for our Institutional business in North America. Bob was an exceptional leader and was instrumental to our success. We will greatly miss him, and our thoughts go out to his beloved family members and friends.
Not all victims in the Amtrak crash had been identified at the time of the publication of this update. A previous version of this update said that Bob Gildersleeve was the eighth and last victim to be identified.
Amtrak will install Positive Train Control throughout the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year, CEO Joseph Boardman said Thursday.
The network has been working to implement PTC — a safety system that could have prevented Tuesday's crash — since the 1990s, Boardman said.
All those aboard the train have now been accounted for, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said in a news conference Thursday.
Nutter said officials now know the whereabouts of all 243 people — 238 passengers and 5 crew — who were aboard Amtrak 188. He said 43 of them remain at hospitals, calling the fact that most passengers survived a "near miracle."
Nutter added that Brandon Bostian, the engineer in charge of the train, told the Philadelphia Police Department that he did not wish to be interviewed. He said it was too early to know whether there will be a criminal investigation in the case.
Philadelphia Fire Department commissioner Derrick Sawyer confirms that an eighth victim was pulled from the wreckage of the first train car on Thursday.
Rescue workers were called back to the scene of the accident around 8 a.m. with a cadaver dog and located another body in the train car, Sawyer said in a press conference Thursday.
National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt on Wednesday said preliminary information showed that the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia was going 106 mph shortly before it derailed, killing at least seven people.
The crash, Sumwalt said, occurred 11 minutes after it departed Penn Station at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday. Moments before the derailment, the engineer applied full emergency brakes, bringing the speed down to 102 mph as it left the tracks, he said.
The maximum allowed speed on the left turn is 50 mph.
Sumwalt declined to speculate as to the exact cause of the derailment, noting that NTSB investigators had yet to interview the train's crew, including the engineer, who he said was being given a chance to "convalesce" after having been through a "very traumatic event."
The train's data recorder and footage from a "front-facing" video camera had been sent to laboratories in Washington D.C. for further examination, Sumwalt added.
Sumwalt also confirmed that a system to automatically cap speed on passenger trains — known as Positive Train Control — was not installed on the section of track. Had it been, "this accident would not have occurred," he said.
"We have called for Positive Train Control for many, many years," Sumwalt said. "It's on our most wanted list."
In addition to killing at least seven people, the crash injured more than 200 others. Sumwalt referred questions about remaining possible victims to emergency responders, saying the NTSB's role in the investigation was to collect "perishable evidence that will go away with the passage of time."
All but two of the train's cars were to be moved to a secure facility for further examination, he added.
At least seven people lost their lives in the derailment near Philadelphia. These are some of their stories.
Dr. Herbert Cushing said 23 patients remained at Temple University Hospital as of Wednesday afternoon, most of them suffering from fractures.
Only one person had a head injury, which surprised Cushing.
"Things could have been a lot worse," he said.
Some had bruised lungs, but the most common injuries were rib fractures.
"The rib fractures told me they rattled around in the train cars a lot," Cushing said.
Almost all were expected to be released within the next several days. As passengers on the New York to Washington D.C.-bound train, they were from out of town, and several of the patients came from outside the U.S.
Cushing said they appeared "stunned" as they entered the hospital.
Temple University Hospital staff have been rising to the occasion, Cushing said, adding that he purposefully sent some people home so they would come back to work rested.
"This is not a sprint," he said. "It's a marathon."
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said "preliminary data" shows the train was speeding at 100 miles per hour prior to its derailment.
As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier today, the speed limit at the curve is 50 miles per hour.
Speaking at a news conference, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the death toll had risen to seven.
Investigators believe the Amtrak train appeared to have been traveling at more than twice the 50 mph speed limit as it entered the track curve and derailed, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Two investigators reportedly told the newspaper the train may have been traveling at more than 100 miles per hour -- twice the Federal Railroad Administration speed limit for that section.
Excessive speed is said to be the focus of investigators' inquiries, according to the WSJ.
Earlier an NTSB spokesperson told reporters that excessive speed was one factor that investigators were considering as the cause of the deadly crash.
One of those killed in the crash was Jim Gaines, a video software architect for the AP, the news agency said Monday.
From the AP:
Jim Gaines, a 48-year-old father of two, had attended meetings in Washington. He was returning home to Plainsboro, New Jersey, when the train derailed Tuesday night. His death was confirmed by his wife, Jacqueline.
Gaines joined the AP in 1998 and was a key factor in nearly all of the news agency's video initiatives, including a service providing live video to hundreds of clients worldwide.
Gaines won AP's "Geek of the Month" award in May 2012 for his "tireless dedication and contagious passion" to technological innovation.
He was part of a team that won the AP Chairman's Prize in 2006 for developing the agency's Online Video Network.
He is also survived by 16-year-old son Oliver and 11-year-old daughter Anushka.
Vice President Joe Biden, a regular Amtrak user during his Senate years, released the following statement:
Jill and I were deeply saddened to learn of the Amtrak tragedy in Philadelphia last night. We are profoundly grateful for the efforts of the first responders and others who continue to assist those in need.
The victims could have been any one of our parents, children, or someone from one of our communities. Amtrak is like a second family to me, as it is for so many other passengers. For my entire career, I've made the trip from Wilmington to Washington and back. I've come to know the conductors, engineers, and other regulars—men and women riding home to kiss their kids goodnight—as we passed the flickering lights of each neighborhood along the way.
Our thoughts are with every person who is grieving right now from this terrible tragedy. As a nation, we pray for the victims and their families.
In a statement, President Obama said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" at the Amtrak crash:
Along with Americans across our country, Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the derailment aboard Amtrak Train 188. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those we lost last night, and to the many passengers who today begin their long road to recovery.
Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many. From Washington, DC and Philadelphia to New York City and Boston, this is a tragedy that touches us all.
As we work to determine exactly what happened, I commend the fire, police and medical personnel working tirelessly and professionally to save lives. Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love – a city of neighborhoods and neighbors – and that spirit of loving-kindness was reaffirmed last night, as hundreds of first responders and passengers lent a hand to their fellow human beings in need.
The U.S. Naval Academy has released a statement confirming that a midshipman on leave was among the Amtrak passengers killed:
ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The Naval Academy is deeply saddened to report that a midshipman was named as one of the passengers who lost their life in the AMTRAK train which crashed in north Philadelphia at approximately 9:30 p.m. last night.
The midshipman was on leave and enroute to their home of record when the accident occurred.
The Brigade of Midshipman, staff and faculty were notified of the midshipman's death this morning. Out of respect for the family's privacy, the identity of the midshipman is being withheld for 24 hours after next of kin notification.
The Naval Academy is supporting the midshipman's family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief. Grief counseling services and support are available to midshipmen, faculty and staff through chains of command, our chaplains, and the Midshipmen Development Center.
The CEO of Philly tech company ApprenNet is among those missing after the Amtrak accident.
A short bio for Rachel Jacobs is available here on the company's website.
Six people are confirmed to have been killed in the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, according to Mayor Michael Nutter.
"We are heartbroken at what's happened here," Nutter said at a media briefing on Wednesday morning, announcing flags across the city and state would fly at half mast.
Nutter said he had also been in touch with the mayors of Washington, D.C., and New York City -- the stations of departure and arrival for Amtrak Northeast Regional train 188.
Samantha Phillips, Philadelphia's director of emergency management, said more than 200 people had been treated in local hospitals following the incident.
"We are in the process of making sure everyone is accounted for," Phillips said.
Mayor Nutter declined to give an exact figure of the number of missing persons, saying the "tedious process" of matching the train's passenger manifest with hospital patient information would take time.
Nutter said the train's data recorder, or "black box," had been recovered from the crash site and was with investigators at the Amtrak Consolidated National Operations Center in Wilmington, Delaware.
The train's conductor, Nutter said, received medical treatment for his injuries and was giving a statement to local police.
National Transportation Safety Board Member Robert Sumwalt said investigators had arrived on scene and would soon begin the process of collecting "perishable evidence" from the crash site.
Sumwalt said investigators would focus on the track, train signals, operation of the train, and human performance.
"What was the train's speed? What was the speed limit on that curve?" Sumwalt asked, outlining questions on which NTSB would focus.
Amtrak Board Chair Anthony Coscia said company officials would work willingly with city officials and investigators.
"This is the Amtrak family," Coscia said. "We are very saddened by what's occurred."
The Federal Railroad Administration also sent investigators to the scene of the deadly crash.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and injured in this accident. We are assembling on site and will begin a thorough investigation into the cause of this accident," Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg said in a statement released Wednesday.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also released a statement:
"A tragic accident occurred tonight. While there is still much we don't know, we at the U.S. Department of Transportation are deeply saddened by reports of multiple fatalities and injuries. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims' families. We urge the public to allow time for first responders to do their critical work. DOT officials are already onsite, and we will work with NTSB to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this devastating event."
Investigators were at the scene Wednesday to survey the crash, while rescue workers continued to search the wreckage for more victims.
The accident happened Tuesday night and BuzzFeed News had this story on the initial developments.
An Amtrak train derailed Tuesday near Philadelphia, killing five at the scene and injuring another 140 people. Another victim died from a chest injury at Temple University Hospital, bringing the death toll to six, Dr. Herbert Cushing announced Wednesday morning.
Train 188 was on its way to New York City from Washington, D.C., when it derailed just north of Philadelphia in an area where the tracks curve. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said late Tuesday that five people were confirmed dead in the crash as crews continued to comb through the wreckage.
"It is an absolute disastrous mess," Nutter said at a news conference. "I have never seen anything like it in my life."
Of the 238 passengers and five crew members, about 140 people were taken to area hospitals with varying injuries, the AP reported. Another eight were believed to be in critical condition.
Aerial television news footage showed multiple cars on their sides as emergency crews worked to extract passengers. Nutter said there were seven cars on the train, adding that the "engine completely separated from the rest of the train."
"It's unbelievable," he added.
Nutter said early Wednesday morning in a news conference that not all passengers were accounted for, and that crews would continue searching the wreckage.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board started their investigation and are expected to hold a briefing sometime Wednesday morning. The cause of the accident is not yet known.
Associated Press Director of Interactives Paul Cheung was on the train in one of the rear cars. He told BuzzFeed News that he was watching the Netflix show Daredevil on his phone at around 9:30 when it suddenly felt like someone "slammed on the brakes."
"The car started shaking and everything went dark," Cheung said. "People started flying all over the place."
When the train finally stopped shaking, another passenger told everyone to get off from the rear. Cheung escaped, then saw mangled cars and injured people.
"A bunch of cars were flipped over on their side," he said. "And a bunch of people were trying to escape from the windows."
It was 10 or 15 minutes before emergency responders arrived, and Cheung said that there were people around him who were injured and in shock. The front of the train was completely destroyed.
"It looked like a wrecking ball — it was all mangled up," Cheung said, adding that he was later bussed to a hospital.
The derailment happened where tracks curve near Philadelphia’s Port Richmond area, according to the AP.
Amtrak modified its Northeast Corridor service. There will be no Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia. Trains will run between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston.
New Jersey Transit will allow Amtrak tickets between New York City and Trenton.
Dr. Herbert Cushing, chief medical officer at Temple University Hospital, said one person died at the hospital.
The death toll rose to six Wednesday morning. Fifty-four people were initially brought to Temple University Hospital, and 25 remain hospitalized as of Wednesday morning, Cushing said, adding that most injuries are to the limbs.
Cushing said that the sixth victim died at the hospital.
"We attempted to resuscitate the person but they couldn't be revived from their injuries," he said.