Amtrak Engineer in Derailment Has 'No Explanation'

Brandon Bostian can't remember much, his lawyer says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2015 6:49 AM CDT
Updated May 14, 2015 7:22 AM CDT
Amtrak Engineer in Derailment Has 'No Explanation'
In this aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed Tuesday night, killing seven, remembers driving the train to the general crash area in Philadelphia, but he doesn't remember the crash itself, his attorney tells ABC News. Brandon Bostian, 32, does remember being banged around in the crash and ultimately regaining consciousness and calling 911, but he has "no explanation" for what caused the accident, his lawyer says, adding that the Queens resident had "no health issues to speak of" before the crash and was not taking any medication. Bostian, who suffered leg injuries, a concussion, and a head injury requiring 14 staples, has given police a blood sample and his cellphone and is cooperating with investigators.

  • Meanwhile, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt says that it appears from the train's data recorder that the train was indeed going 106mph before Bostian pressed the emergency brake, and was going 102mph by the time the recording ended three seconds later. As earlier reported, the speed limit before the curve where the train derailed is 70mph; at the curve, the limit goes down to 50mph.
  • And Sumwalt offers this devastating sentence to the New York Times: "We feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred." He's talking about technology called "positive train control," which can automatically slow or even halt trains to stop accidents. It's in place on parts of the Northeast Corridor, but not the portion of the track where the derailment occurred. Congress mandated that it be installed everywhere by the end of this year, but due to challenges getting it in place, the deadline could be extended to 2020.
  • "Clearly it was reckless in terms of the driving by the engineer. There's no way in the world he should have been going that fast into the curve," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter tells CNN. But Sumwalt says the NTSB will "get the facts before we start making judgments," noting that a mechanical problem like faulty brakes could be to blame.
(More Amtrak stories.)

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