FBI to Investigate If Amtrak Train Got Hit by Projectile

Assistant conductor thinks she heard engineer mention it before crash
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2015 6:27 PM CDT
FBI to Investigate If Amtrak Train Got Hit by Projectile
A 2007 photo of Amtrak's Brandon Bostian.   (Huy Richard Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The feds have interviewed the Amtrak engineer at the controls before this week's crash in Philadelphia, and while Brandon Bostian was fully cooperative, he says he still can't remember a thing about the derailment, reports CNN. But the more interesting development came from an interview with an assistant conductor, who said she thought she heard Bostian say before the crash that the train's windshield had been "broken by something,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have seen damage to the left-hand lower portion of Amtrak windshield that we have asked the FBI to come in and look at for us,” says NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt.

Prior to the crash, two other trains in the area had been hit by some kind of projectile, reports the Inquirer. One was a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train, and the assistant conductor remembers hearing about it. "She recalled that the SEPTA engineer had reported to the train dispatcher that he had either been hit by a rock or shot at, and the SEPTA engineer said that he had a broken windshield, and he placed his train into emergency stop," says Sumwalt. "She also believed that she heard (the Amtrak) engineer say something about his train being struck by something." As for Bostian, he told the NTSB that he hadn't been sick or tired, but insisted he remembers nothing beyond the point his train left the nearby station in north Philly. (The train was clearly speeding up before entering a curve at twice the speed limit.)

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