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Breaking News: High-speed Amtrak Cascade Train Wreck derails 13 of 14 Trains Off of Track in DuPont, Washington with 77 Injuries and 6 Fatalities — Interstate HIghway 5 Southbound Lanes Closed — Videos

Posted on December 18, 2017. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Environment, Family, Journalism, Life, Links, media, People, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Technology, Trains, Transportation, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The solid route is the updated line that opened Monday. Because it's straighter than the old Puget Sound route, trains could go faster See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Train engineer Robert Bregent gives his expertise on the Amtrak derailment

High speed Amtrak train derails in DuPont, Washington

Alex Rozier discusses being on the train earlier in the morning

BREAKING NEWS AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILED DuPont Washington 6 Dead & 77 Injured Crashed onto Interstate

BREAKING NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2017: At least six dead and 77 injured’ after new high-speed Amtrak train derails after it ‘hit something’ on its FIRST day of service sending rail cars flying onto the interstate below.

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to on the condition of anonymity.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported. Train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

Amtrak confirmed its train was involved but did not provide further information. ‘We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501,’ the rail operator said on Twitter. ‘We will update with additional details as they become available.’

It was the first day of the new $181million high-speed Cascade service, which rerouted trains down 14 miles of updated track. The new bypass between Tacoma and DuPont is straighter, meaning that trains can go faster than they did on the windy old line.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets.

The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

A Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman said there were multiple fatalities on the train, but declined to give an official number,

Despite the fact that the train hit several cars and trucks on the freeway below, no motorists were killed.

An estimated 77 people were injured, with some being rushed to the hospital and others treated at the scene. A spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia said his hospital had received 11 patients. Chris Thomas did not know their specific conditions. Two patients were in the operating room as of early morning, one of them in serious condition, he said.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train. The train was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad’s train tracker app. The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79 mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Witness describes ‘unreal’ aftermath of train derailment

Dr. Marc Siegel on injuries suffered in train derailment

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m48d2OA5KTY]

Official: At least six people killed in train derailment

 

At least 6 dead, scores injured after Amtrak train plunges off bridge onto I-5

 An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a new route hurtled off an overpass at an estimated 80 mph Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said.

Seventy-seven passengers, six crew members and one technician were aboard when the train derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle before 8 a.m., Amtrak said. At least 50 people were hospitalized, more than a dozen with critical or serious injuries, authorities said.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said five passenger vehicles and two semi trucks on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported.

In a radio transmission immediately after the accident, the conductor can be heard saying the train was coming around a corner and was crossing a bridge that passed over Interstate 5 when it derailed.

“Emergency! Emergency! Emergency! We are on the ground!” a radio message from the train came into dispatchers, according audio obtained by Broadcastify.com. “We are on the bridge over I-5 near Nisqually… on the freeway. Need EMS [emergency services] ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.”

Dispatch audio also indicated that the engineer survived with bleeding from the head and both eyes swollen shut.

“I’m still figuring that out. We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway,” he tells the dispatcher, who asks if everyone is OK.

Trooper Brooke Bova with the Washington State Patrol says the train had 12 passenger cars and two engines, and all but one engine derailed. Five vehicles and two semi trucks were struck by the falling train cars on I-5 causing injuries, but no fatalities on the freeway. The extent of the injuires to those on the freeway is not known.

Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four cars back from the front.

“We had just passed the city of DuPont and maybe two or three minutes after that and we felt a little bit of wobbling and then the next thing that we knew we were being catapulted into the seats in front of us and we could hear the train derailing and metal crunching,” Chris Karns told KOMO NewsRadio. “There were people screaming — everything was dark. We had to kick out the window in order to get off the train.”

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a State of Emergency for the disaster and has activated the State Emergency Operations Center.

In a conference call with reporters, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said “Positive Train Control” was not activated on the tracks at the time of the derailment. Positive Train Control is a technology that automatically slows down, and eventually stops, a train if it senses the train is going too fast and could derail or get in an accident.

‘Prepared for the Worst and Hoped for the Best’

Motorists said they drove up to find a train car hanging off the bridge, and dozens of Amtrak passengers stranding along the freeway. Motorists on both sides of the freeway began to help them.

Dr. Nathan Selden, a neurosurgeon at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said he and his son drove through the accident scene while traveling north to visit Seattle. The doctor asked if he could help and was ushered to a medical triage tent in the highway median.

The most seriously injured had already been whisked away, but the patients he helped appeared to have open head wounds and skull, pelvic or leg fractures, as well as small cuts and neck sprains, he said.

He called it a miracle that an infant child he saw from the scene appeared completely unharmed.

Daniel Konzelman, 24, was driving parallel to the train on his way to work as an accountant in Olympia. He was about 30 seconds ahead of the train on the freeway when he saw it derail.

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, told the Associtaed Press he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt – some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

“I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,” he said. “I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.”

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

“I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,” he said.

Southbound I-5 To Remain Closed For Extened Period

All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 are closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and are expected to remain closed for the rest of the day, according to the State Patrol. Troopers have set up a number of detours, including one allowing drivers to cut through Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We have a detour that’s going through Center Drive through the base,” Trooper Brooke Bova said. “JBLM is being amazing and they’re really helping us get traffic through there but please expect congestion through that area. That is one of our biggest detours.”

Other detours take drivers around into Kitsap County or far into eastern Pierce and Thurston County.

High-speed Amtrak train ‘hit something’ before derailing on Washington State line – killing at least six and injuring 77 – as it’s revealed high-tech system designed to PREVENT accident was NOT enabled

  • An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday, killing at least six and injuring 77
  • Seventy-eight passengers were on board, in addition to five crew members 
  • The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing one car to crash onto the freeway below 
  • Five cars and two semi-trucks were struck by the falling car, but no motorists were killed
  • It was the first day of a new high-speed service linking Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon
  • A local mayor voiced his fear about the new train causing a deadly accident earlier this month 
  • An anonymous official said it appears the train may have struck something right before the derailment 
  • High-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on
  • The NTSB is sending a 20-person team to DuPont to investigate the derailment 
  • Records show that the train was going 81 mph before it derailed, when it was supposed to only be going 79 
  • The president of Amtrak said the train was not equipped with positive train control, which automatically slows a train if it’s going too fast  
  • President Trump blamed the crash on ‘crumbling infrastructure’ in a tweet 

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In addition, the new high-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on.

The PTC computer system which prevents a train from exceeding a speed limit and can detect objects or collisions ahead is fitted to all the new Charger locomotives on the Seattle to Portland line.

However, according to CNN, at a conference call today, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said Positive Train Control was not activated on the tracks at the time.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said thirteen of the train’s fourteen cars derailed. One of them crashed onto freeway below, hitting five cars and two semi-trucks. Multiple motorists were injured, but none killed. Police have not given an official death count, but the Seattle Times says it’s at least six.

Seventy-seven people have been hospitalized, with hospital officials saying at least two people are in critical condition and 11 are seriously injured.

Scroll down for video 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday - causing multiple injuries and fatalities 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday – causing multiple injuries and fatalities

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

Thirteen of the 14 cars on the train derailed in the early Monday morning incident 

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured - including both passengers and motorists  

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured – including both passengers and motorists

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The derailment happened near the town of DuPont, Washington, on an updated set of train line 

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland  

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland

The train was headed south towards Portland, Oregon at the time of the derailment. Passengers are seen disembarking the derailed train 

Seventy-eight passengers were on board at the time, in addition to five crew. The train can fit around 250 people

Train 501 was going south to Portland, Oregon when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

The train was making the inaugural run on the new Cascade route as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that’s bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

WHAT IS POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL?

The brand new Amtrak Cascade trains are pulled by the brand new Charger locomotive as part of the $181m infrastructure investment.

Each of the Charger engines is equipped with the high tech Positive Train Control (PTC) which enables trains to be automatically or remotely stopped when trouble is found on the line.

The PTC for Train 501 was not due to be switched on until next year.

 PTC is a computer program which enables a the system to monitor the train using GPS and sensors on trains that are tripped along the tracks.

The program operates simultaneously with the running train and slows a locomotive if it exceeds its speed limit and will trip a red light if a collision is imminent or an obstacle has been seen or detected.

The Amtrak schedule called for the train to leave Seattle around 6am and arrive in Portland about 3 1/2 hours later.

The new route includes a bypass built on an existing inland rail line that runs along Interstate 5 from Tacoma to DuPont, near where Train 501 derailed. Track testing was completed in January and February in advance of Monday’s launch, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets. The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train.  The train was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad’s train tracker app.

The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79 mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The president of Amtrak revealed at an afternoon press conference that the new train was not equipped with positive train control, a mechanism that automatically slows the train if it starts going too fast. This is despite the fact that the technology was supposed to be added to the trains as part of the revamp.

DESPERATE EMERGENCY CALL FROM CREW OF AMTRAK TRAIN

The call made by a member of the crew of the Amtrak train in the seconds after the deadly crash has been released.

The call is believed to have been made by the engineer.

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency… we are on the ground (inaudible) We are on the bridge (inaudible) …on the freeway.’

‘We need EMS ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.

OPERATOR: ‘Hey guys what happened?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘We were coming round the corner to take the bridge on the I5 and right there on the Nissqually we were on the ground.’

OPERATOR: ‘Are you… is everybody okay?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘I am still figuring that out… we’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Two semi-trucks were damaged when one of the train cars fell onto the freeway below 

Five cars were damaged when the train car fell onto the freeway - but no motorist was killed 

A worker walks the tracks at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate 

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate

A train car's wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5  

A train car’s wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5

Firefighters are seen looking for more survivors on Monday 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train

It's still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating 

It’s still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington 

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington

The NTSB will be looking to get the black box fro the train, which will tell how fast the train was traveling when it derailed 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below

The NTSB is sending a 20 person team to investigate the derailment. Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr addresses reporters about the derailment at a press conference in Washington, DC on Monday 

A look at the new locomotives for the Cascade line

Today was the first day of the new multi-million Amtrak Cascades train service daily along the Portland-Seattle corridor.

The more direct route diverged from the shared track which operated with freight trains.

The project was known as the Point Defiance Bypass.

Avoiding a more scene route along the area’s iconic Puget Sound, the new high speed line is designed to take 10 minutes off the travel time and travel at up to 80mph.

Amtrak issued a press released last week to say that using this route would allow for two more daily round-trips between Seattle and Portland.

It would also help trains avoid traveling around tight corners and tunnels.

The Amtrak/Cascade trains are pulled by a state-of-the art locomotive known as a ‘Charger’.

Weighing 42,000 pounds and able to produce 4,400-horsepower they new, quieter and faster engines have been testing for the last month.

They are equipped with positive train control systems which automatically stop trains when troubled is detected. However, these are not due to be activate till 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said that at the moment it has no theories as to what caused the derailment.

 The NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash, but most won’t be on the scene for several hours because they’re flying commercial. The 20-person go team’s  flight is scheduled for 6:55pm and its a five-hour flight.

When they finally get to the scene, the investigators will obtain the black box which will show how fast the train was going when it derailed and whether the engineer braked when they needed to. They will also look at the condition of the tracks and question the train crew.

Mary Schiavo, a transportation analyst for CNN, hinted that the curve in the road might be to blame for the derailment.

‘This train was about to enter or was entering a curve and while they had to modify the tracks and test the tracks – and all of this work was done at the beginning of December – local officials in Washington were highly critical of sending a train at this speed through his area…they specifically warned that it needed to slow down at the curves in the track.

‘I always like to say, whether its a train crash or a plane crash, the laws of physics are the only laws you can’t break. And while they tested it…testing as opposed to running a full-sized, fully-loaded train over the track changes the physics. It changes the dynamics of the forces that you have in that curve.

‘It’s like racing a motorcycle. As you approached that curve, the centrifugal forces on the train change dramatically and I bet the NTSB is gonna pay a lot of attention to the topography and whether the train was entering a curve,’ Schiavo said.

Audio has been released of the engineer talking to emergency dispatchers immediately after the crash.

‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency, we are on the ground!’ the engineer is heard saying.

‘Need EMS ASAP. It looks like they are already starting to show up,’ the engineer continues.

‘He guys, what happened?’ a dispatcher asks.

‘We were coming around the corner to take the bridge over 1-5 there right north of Nisqually and we went on the ground,’ the engineer responds.

‘Ok, is everybody ok?’ the dispatcher asks.

‘I’m still figuring that out,’ the engineer responds. ‘We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Passenger Chris Karnes was on his way to do some Christmas shipping with his boyfriend with the derailment happened.

He told KIRO that he was on the third for fourth car, and said the emergency doors were not functioning so they had to kick out the train windows to escape.

Photos from the scene show three to four cars rolled off the track and into the woods on the side of the road.

‘We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,’ Karnes said. ‘All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.’

‘The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds,’ he continued. ‘I’m not sure what happened at this juncture.’

Maria Hetland was driving to work on the northbound lanes when traffic slowed and she noticed the crash.

‘As we were coming up the hill I rolled my window down and saw the train,’ she told the Seattle Times. ‘It was awful.’

Hetland said she could see people walking around the roadway near the derailment, and people sitting on the side of the freeway wrapped in blankets.

Many rail enthusiasts were on the train to make the first trip of the new high-speed service

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday 

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning 

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, said he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt — some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

‘I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,’ he said. ‘I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.’

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

‘I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,’ he said.

Alex Rozier, a King TV reporter, told NBC News that he got off the train about 10 minutes before the derailment, after taking footage early on in the inaugural trip.

He said there were many people on the train for its first trip, including rail enthusiasts. Passengers were given commemorative lanyards for the journey.

The new service is supposed to make the journey between Portland and Seattle in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than previous services.

Part of the reason why the new route is faster is because it diverges from the main line on a 14-mile bypass between DuPont and Tacoma.

The new track is a straighter line so the train can go faster, while the old track was windy and made the journey slower.

The bypass already existed but had the tracks needed to be updated for high-speed trains, which heat up the metal on the tracks more significantly

Monday’s inaugural trip was the culmination of the $181million project, that also included construction of a new train station at Tacoma.

Amtrak service south of Seattle on the line is temporarily suspended. Service is continuing to the north and east of the crash.

The derailment has also caused traffic chaos on Interstate 5, with all southbound lanes shut down and just two lanes getting by northbound.

The State Police said that the southbound lanes will at least be closed down for the rest of the day.

They are asking that people stay off I-5 if they don’t need to use it.

The freeway is a heavily trafficked road, with even more Washingtonians expected to be on the road this week to do Christmas shopping in sales-tax-free Oregon.

Family of victims are being asked to report to the DuPont City Hall to be reunited with their loved ones. They are being told not to come to the scene.

President Trump used the deadly derailment to call for more infrastructure spending in a tweet sent about three hours after the accident. He said the wreck, on a newly completed bypass, shows ‘more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.’

Ten minutes later, he expressed his sympathies for those who were killed.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White house, he added.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5191431/Amtrak-train-derails-highway-bridge-Washington-state-media.html#ixzz51emnm2C3

 

 

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Confirmed 4 Dead and 63 Injured in New York City Train Derailment — Brakes Failed? — Videos

Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Federal Government, Law, liberty, Life, Links, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Technology, Trains, Transportation, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

NYC Train DerailmentNYC Train Derailmentmta-crash-9mta-crash-12mta-crash-14mta-train-derailment7mta-crash-13

Witness Interviews on New York MTA Metro-North Train Derail, 4 Passengers Dead

Metro-North Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal Passenger Train Derails in Bronx New York

MTA Metro-North Train derails in New York at Spitting Devil’s Curve, Passenger Deaths Confirmed

Metro North Train Derails in Bronx area of New York City[RAW FOOTOGE]

Metro-North train derails in The Bronx

Metro-North Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal Train Derailment Initial Information

Member Weener briefs media on Bronx, N.Y., Metro North train derailment, December 1, 2013

NTSB: Train going too fast at curve before wreck

A commuter train that derailed over the weekend, killing four passengers, was hurtling at 82 mph as it entered a 30 mph curve, a federal investigator said Monday. But whether the wreck was the result of human error or mechanical trouble was unclear, he said.

Safety experts said the tragedy might have been prevented if Metro-North Railroad had installed automated crash-avoidance technology that safety authorities have been urging for decades.

The locomotive’s speed was extracted from the train’s two data recorders after the Sunday morning accident, which happened in the Bronx along a bend so sharp that the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 30 mph.

Asked why the train was going so fast, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said: “That’s the question we need to answer.”

Weener would not disclose what the engineer operating the train told investigators, and he said results of drug and alcohol tests were not yet available. Investigators are also examining the engineer’s cellphone, apparently to determine whether he was distracted.

“When I heard about the speed, I gulped,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The engineer, William Rockefeller, was injured and “is totally traumatized by everything that has happened,” said Anthony Bottalico, executive director of the rail employees union.

He said Rockefeller, 46, was cooperating fully with investigators.

“He’s a sincere human being with an impeccable record that I know of. He’s diligent and competent,” Bottalico said. Rockefeller has been an engineer for about 11 years and a Metro-North employee for about 20, he said.

Weener sketched a scenario that suggested that the throttle was let up and the brakes were fully applied way too late to stave off disaster.

He said the throttle went to idle six seconds before the derailed train came to a complete stop — “very late in the game” for a train going that fast — and the brakes were fully engaged five seconds before the train stopped.

It takes about a mile for a train going 70 mph to stop, according to Steve Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration official who now teaches at Michigan State University.

Asked whether the tragedy was the result of human error or faulty brakes, Weener said: “The answer is, at this point in time, we can’t tell.”

But he said investigators are not aware of any problems with the brakes during the nine stops the train made before the derailment.

The wreck came two years before the federal government’s deadline for Metro-North and other railroads to install automatic-slowdown technology designed to prevent catastrophes caused by human error.

Metro-North’s parent agency and other railroads have pressed the government to extend Congress’ 2015 deadline a few years because of the cost and complexity of the Positive Train Control system, which uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor trains and stop them from colliding, derailing or going the wrong way.

Ditmeyer said the technology would have monitored the brakes and would not have allowed the train in Sunday’s tragedy to exceed the speed limit.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/nyc-train-derailment-kills-4-hurts-more-than-60/2013/12/01/fb8e3a0e-5ae8-11e3-801f-1f90bf692c9b_story.html

4 dead, 63 injured in NYC train derail ‘bloodbath’

By Larry Celona, Jamie Schram and Kevin Sheehan

A Metro-North train loaded with holiday travelers derailed as it hurtled around a tight Bronx curve just north of Manhattan on Sunday — leaving at least four dead and 63 injured in a crash the engineer blamed on brake malfunction.

“It was just a bloodbath,” a shaken FDNY worker said of the scene of twisted metal and shattered glass along a bucolic stretch of the Hudson River, where the accident occurred just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station at 7:22 a.m.

Rescue crews were still working early Monday morning to right three of the seven derailed passenger cars to look for more possible bodies.

The train’s operator — 20-year MTA veteran William Rockefeller, 46, of upstate Germantown — was said to have told emergency responders that the brakes didn’t work.

“The guy’s distraught over the accident and the people who were injured,” a source said of Rockefeller, who was among those hurt.

All of those killed were New Yorkers. They included two women — Ahn Kisook, 35, of Queens, and Donna Smith, 54, of Newburgh — as well as married dads James Ferrari, 59, of Montrose and James Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring.

Three of the dead were thrown from the Hudson Line train, which had originated in Poughkeepsie at 5:54 a.m., bound for Grand Central. Their bodies were recovered between the second and third cars.

Passenger Emilie Miyauchi, 28, said she used her yoga mat to cover one of the victims.

“[She] seemed like she had lost most of her head. The side of the car was just covered in her blood,” she recalled.

Injured passengers are removed from the derailed Metro-North train.Photo: William Farrington

It was the first time any passenger had been killed in Metro-North’s 31-year history.

Riders described chaos as the train flew off the tracks.

“I was just holding on . . . and people were flying around,” said Eddie Russell, 48, who was headed to work as a guard at SiriusXM. “I was afraid I was going to fall out the window.”

Joel Zaritsky said he was asleep and woke up as his train car started rolling over.

“Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming,” he said.

The scene “looked like a toy train set that was mangled by some super-powerful force,” Gov. Cuomo later told CNN.

Gov. Cuomo said Monday that the high speed of the train probably caused the accident.

“I think it’s going to be speed-related,” he said. “It’s not about the turn. I think it’s going to be about the speed…” he said on NBC’s “Today” show.

Cuomo added that investigators are still trying to determine if the excessive speed was caused by “operator error” or a mechanical or other problem.

The governor called the scene of the tragedy horrific.

“It was actually worse than it looks,” he said.

Later, on Fox’s “Good Day New York,” he said it was hard to describe what he saw.

“This was breathtaking,” Cuomo recalled. “One minute everything is fine and the next minute we lost New Yorkers in a really tragic and violent way.

The first train car landed inches from Spuyten Duyvil Creek. NYPD divers searched the water to make sure no victims were thrown in.

The train, pushed by a diesel locomotive from behind, should have been going 70 mph before it slowed to 30 mph to round the curve, officials said.

Passengers told probers that the train seemed to be going much faster than usual.

“I have no idea why. I take this train every morning, and they always slow on this curve,” passenger Frank Tatulli told WABC-TV.

A person is evacuated from the scene of the derailment of a Metro-North passenger train in The Bronx.Photo: AP

Investigators recovered the train’s “black box,” which should reveal how fast it was going when it crashed, said officials with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the probe.

There were 120 passengers aboard — making it about half full — along with four crew.

At least 11 people were critically hurt, including a man in his early 40s who suffered a spinal-cord injury and may be paralyzed, authorities said. A 14-year-old boy also was critical.

Another six people were hospitalized in serious condition.

Firefighters at the scene where a train derailed in The Bronx Sunday morning.Photo: Theodore Parisienne

The train’s conductor was among those injured, as were three city cops. The most seriously hurt officer, Elsie Rodriguez, was on her way to work at her domestic-violence post at the 40th Precinct station in The Bronx, said sources, who added that she broke her collarbone.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly visited Rodriguez at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx. Mayor Bloomberg — who had been MIA for most of the day, with staffers refusing to say where he was — also dropped in to see Rodriguez on Sunday evening.

“We chitchatted about her job and how I was going to be unemployed, and she thought that was funny,” Bloomberg said.

Asked about why he hadn’t been at the accident scene, the mayor responded, “What can I do? I’m not a professional firefighter or a police officer. There’s nothing I can do! What I can do is make sure the right people from New York . . . are there and have all the resources that they want.”

Two other cops were treated at Montefiore Medical Center, also in The Bronx. They were identified as Richie Hernandez of the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit and Gabriel Rodriguez of the 42nd Precinct. Rodriguez, who was on his way to work, was treated for a leg injury and released, sources said.

An NYPD school-safety officer also was on board, along with a Police Department recruit, but neither was hurt, sources said.

NTSB member Earl Weener said six teams of investigators would be probing everything from the train’s speed and instruments to its maintenance and personnel records and the condition of the tracks.

“Our mission is to understand not just what happened but why it happened,” he said.

Cuomo insisted that the train route’s curve had nothing to do with anything.

“Trains take the curve every day 365 days a year, so it’s not the fact that there’s a curve here,’’ he said. “There has to be another factor.’’

The accident was the second involving a Metro-North train in six months.

http://nypost.com/2013/12/01/metro-north-train-derails-in-the-bronx/

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Train Derailment and Crash in Spain Near Santiago De Compostela Kills 80 and Injures 178 Passengers — Photos and Videos

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Diasters, Economics, Education, government spending, Law, Life, Links, media, People, Photos, Radio, Regulations, Trains, Transportation, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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CCTV Video Shows Spain Train Crash  

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Spain Train Crash CAUGHT ON CAMERA! | Moment High Speed Train Derails in Santiago, Spain

BBC News  Spain train crash  Video shows moment of derailment

Derailment Disaster: High-speed train crash in Spain kills dozens

Spain Train Crash: Santiago Train Derailment Killed 78 | Santiago Tren Accidente

Raw: Train Derails in Spain, Dozens Feared Dead  

Spain Train CRASH Near Santiago De Compostela | Accidente Tren en España  

Spain train crash: Dozens killed as high-speed train derails in Santiago de Compostela

Train Crash In Spain: At Least 80 Killed near Santiago de Compostela  

Driver in custody after 80 killed in Spain train crash

By Teresa Medrano and Tracy Rucinski

The driver of a Spanish train that derailed, killing at least 80 people, was under police guard in hospital on Thursday after the dramatic accident which an official source said was caused by excessive speed.

The eight-carriage train came off the tracks, hit a wall and caught fire just outside the pilgrimage destination Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain on Wednesday night. It was one of Europe’s worst rail disasters.

The source had knowledge of the official investigation into a crash which brought misery to Santiago on Thursday, the day when it should have celebrated one of Europe’s biggest Christian festivals. Authorities canceled festivities as the city went into mourning.

The Galicia regional supreme court said in a statement the judge investigating the accident had ordered police to take a statement from the driver.

He was being formally investigated and under police guard but not under arrest, the court said. He was in hospital but it was not clear what kind of injuries he had suffered.

Video footage from a security camera showed the train, with 247 people on board, hurtling into a concrete wall at the side of the track as carriages jack-knifed and the engine overturned.

One local official described the aftermath of the crash as like a scene from hell, with bodies strewn next to the tracks.

The impact was so huge one carriage flew several meters into the air and landed on the other side of a high concrete barrier.

Around 94 people were injured, 35 of them, including four children, in a serious condition, the deputy head of the regional government said.

“We heard a massive noise and we went down the tracks. I helped get a few injured and bodies out of the train. I went into one of the cars but I’d rather not tell you what I saw there,” Ricardo Martinez, a 47-year old baker from Santiago de Compostela, told Reuters.

Newspaper accounts cited witnesses as saying the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon, who had helped rescue victims, shouted into a phone: “I’ve derailed! What do I do?”.

The 52-year-old had been a train driver for 30 years, said a spokeswoman for Renfe, the state train company.

A court source told Reuters there was one driver on the train. Previously, a Galicia government source had said there were two.

TRAIN HIT BEND AT SPEED

El Pais newspaper said the driver told the railway station by radio after being trapped in his cabin that the train entered the bend at 190 kilometers per hour (120 mph). An official source said the speed limit on that stretch of twin track, laid in 2011, was 80 kph.

“We’re only human! We’re only human!” the driver told the station, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the investigation. “I hope there are no dead, because this will weigh on my conscience.”

Investigators were trying to find out why the train was going so fast and why security devices to keep speed within permitted limits had not slowed the train.

Operated by state-owned company Renfe, the train was built by Bombardier and Talgo and was around five years old. It had almost the maximum number of passengers.

Spain’s rail safety record is better than the European average, ranking 18th out of 27 countries in terms of railway deaths per kilometers traveled, the European Railway Agency said. There were 218 train accidents in Spain between 2008-2011, well below the EU average of 426 for the same period.

Firefighters called off a strike to help with the disaster, while hospital staff, many operating on reduced salaries because of spending cuts in recession-hit Spain, worked overtime to tend the injured.

The disaster happened at 8.41 p.m. (2:41 p.m. ET) on the eve of a festival dedicated to St. James, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, whose remains are said to rest in Santiago’s centuries-old cathedral.

The apostle’s shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.

“The main mass (in the cathedral) was transformed from a mass of joy into a mass of mourning,” said Italian pilgrim Irene Valsangiacomo.

KING, PM VISIT

One U.S. citizen died in the crash and five were injured, the State Department said in Washington. Mexico said one of its nationals was among the dead.

At least one British citizen was injured, a British embassy spokesman said. People from several other countries were believed to be among the passengers.

People living nearby ran to the site to help emergency workers tend to the wounded. Ana Taboada, a 29-year-old hospital worker, was one of the first on the scene.

“When the dust lifted I saw corpses. I didn’t make it down to the track, because I was helping the passengers that were coming up the embankment,” she told Reuters. “I saw a man trying to break a window with a stone to help those inside get out.”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia region, visited the site and the main hospital on Thursday. He declared three days of official national mourning for the victims of the disaster.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also went to Santiago and visited the injured in hospital.

“All of Spain is united in grief with the bereaved families,” the king said.

Both Renfe and state-owned Adif, which is in charge of the tracks, opened an investigation into the derailment.

Passenger Ricardo Montesco told Cadena Ser radio station the train approached the curve at high speed, twisted and the carriages piled up one on top of the other.

“A lot of people were squashed on the bottom. We tried to squeeze out of the bottom of the wagons to get out and we realized the train was burning. … I was in the second carriage and there was fire. … I saw corpses,” he said.

Clinics in Santiago de Compostela were overwhelmed with people flocking to give blood, while hotels organized free rooms for relatives. Madrid sent forensic scientists and hospital staff to the scene on special flights.

Allianz Seguros, owned by Germany’s Allianz, owns the insurance contract for loss suffered by Renfe passengers, a company spokeswoman told Reuters. The contract does not cover Renfe’s trains. The company had sent experts to the scene.

The disaster stirred memories of a train bombing in Madrid in 2004, carried out by Islamist militants, that killed 191 people, although officials do not suspect an attack this time.

Spain is struggling to emerge from a long-running recession marked by government-driven austerity to bring its deeply indebted finances into order.

But Adif, the state railways infrastructure company, told Reuters no budget cuts had been implemented on maintenance of the line, which connects La Coruna, Santiago de Compostela and Ourense and was inaugurated in 2011.

It said more than 100 million euros a year were being spent on track maintenance in Spain.

(Additional reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, Sonya Dowsett, Sarah White, Andres Gonzalez, Blanca Rodriguez, Julien Toyer, Emma Pinedo, Raquel Castillo, Robert Hetz; Writing by Sonya Dowsett and Julien Toyer and Elisabeth O’Leary,; editing by Barry Moody and Andrew Heavens)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/25/us-spain-train-idUSBRE96N17R20130725

80 dead in Spain crash; video catches train’s final moments

By Al Goodman. Laura Smith-Spark and Laura Perez Maestro, CNN

The train races into view, and in the space of a heartbeat, the cars derail and crash into a wall of concrete, flipping onto their sides and skidding along the track with terrifying speed and force.

Security footage shows the horror of the moment an express train derailed as it hurtled around a curve in northwestern Spain on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Spanish government in the Galicia region, speaking on routine condition of anonymity, confirmed 80 people have died in the crash.

One U.S. citizen is among the dead, according to Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. At least five U.S. citizens were also injured, she added.

Flames burst out of one train car as another car was snapped in half after the crash. Rescue crews and fellow passengers pulled bodies through broken windows and pried open doors as stunned survivors looked on.

Investigations into the cause of the crash continue, but suggestions that the train was traveling too fast appear to be gaining weight.

The train driver is being questioned by police and is under formal investigation, said Maria Pardo Rios, a spokeswoman for the Galicia regional supreme court. “He is not being charged by a judge at the moment — it is all at a police level,” she said.

Ninety-five of the 178 injured are still hospitalized, the local government’s official Twitter account said. Thirty-two adults and four children are in critical condition.

Most of the deaths happened at the scene, Rios said. In Spain, judges typically record deaths that take place outside of hospitals.

Judicial teams are still at the crash site and expect to find more bodies, she told CNN on Thursday morning.

Interim charge d’affaires Luis G. Moreno at the embassy said it was in touch “with families of some injured American citizens.”

“We are deeply shocked by the news of last night’s train crash in Galicia. Our hearts and prayers are with the friends and families of the victims,” he said Thursday.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said one British citizen was injured.

The crash came on the eve of a public holiday held to mark the region’s saint’s day. Local officials canceled festivities planned for Wednesday night and Thursday across Galicia.

Train’s speed questioned

The state railway, Renfe, said the train crashed on a curve several kilometers from the train station in the city of Santiago de Compostela, a popular tourist destination.

The train was nearing the end of a six-hour trip from Madrid to the town of Ferrol in northwest Spain when it derailed at 8:41 p.m. Wednesday, the railway said.

It was unclear how fast the train was traveling when it crashed. It was capable of going up to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph), said Julio Hermida, a spokesman for the state railway.

The driver, who suffered minor injuries, told police the train had entered the bend too fast, TVE reported.

The driver has worked for the company for the last 30 years, a spokesman for the railway confirmed to CNN. In 2000, the driver started working as a train driver assistant, and in 2003 began working as a train driver, a job the driver has held since.

Rafael Catala, secretary of state for transport and housing, told Spanish radio network Cadena SER that the “tragedy appears to be linked to the train going too fast,” but that the reasons for that are not yet known.

Spanish news agency Efe and national daily El Pais cited sources within the investigation as saying that the driver had said the train was going at about 190 kilometers per hour, and that the limit on that curve was 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph.)

The president of Renfe, Julio Gomez-Pomar, told radio station COPE on Thursday that the train had undergone a routine inspection that same morning.

“The train did not have an operating problem,” he said. “The maintenance and control record of the train was perfect.”

Mourning declared

Spain’s King Juan Carlos visited a hospital in Santiago de Compostela where victims injured in Wednesday’s train accident are recovering.

“All Spaniards, we are united at this time. … Really all Spaniards join in the pain of the families of the dead,” he said. “We hope that the wounded will recover, little by little.”

The royal family canceled all events scheduled for the day out of respect for the day of mourning, the royal household told CNN.

Alberto Nunez Feijoo, head of the regional government in Galicia, declared seven days of mourning in the region for victims of the tragedy.

In a speech, he said “all of the community cries about the tragedy that we are living, we cry for the victims, we cry for the unease and sadness of the families.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy viewed the scene of devastation Thursday morning and visited some of the hospitalized crash victims.

Rajoy, who is from the area, told a news conference there was a “huge challenge” ahead, not least in identifying all those killed and informing their families, and he praised the response of everyone who has helped after the crash.

Two investigations are under way, he said, adding, “We want to establish what happened.”

Rajoy declared three days of national mourning to honor the victims of the crash.

The prime minister came under fire in Spanish media after a condolences message for the train crash victims posted by his office late Wednesday included a paragraph apparently “copied and pasted” from a statement previously sent to victims of an earthquake in Gansu, China.

”I would like to express my deepest condolences for the loss of human lives and the material damage from the earthquake that has occurred in Gansu has caused,” the note said.

Victim: ‘Everything went dark’

One victim, speaking from a hospital bed with his arm in a sling, told CNN affiliate Atlas that it seemed like train was going fast.

“But we didn’t know what was the maximum speed, so I thought it was normal,” he said, “And suddenly there was a curve, the suitcases fell, and everything went dark. And I hit my head a ton of times, and 10 seconds later I was wedged between seats, and I had people’s legs on top of me.”

As he waited for rescuers to pull him from the wreckage, he heard other passengers yelling.

“I heard little children screaming. … I also heard two girls that yelled out, one supporting the other,” he said.

A passenger who got off at the last stop before the train derailed told the broadcaster it was packed with people at the time.

Residents who lived near the tracks told the Voz de Galicia newspaper that they heard a thunderous bang when the train crashed. Many of them rushed to the area with blankets and bottled water for the injured, the newspaper reported.

“The train had broken in half. Some pieces were on top, some pieces were on the bottom,” said Ivette Rubiera Cabrera of Florida, who caught a glimpse of the wreckage while on a family vacation in Spain and sent photos to CNN’s iReport.

“It was quite shocking,” she said. “We had never seen anything like that. We had just been on the train last week.”

Oscar Mateos told the El Pais newspaper that he saw fellow passengers thrown to the floor, then tossed from one side of the train to the other.

“Help came in five minutes, but that time became an eternity,” he said. “I helped people get out with broken legs and many bruises.”

Crash investigation

Investigators are looking at all possible causes of the crash, a senior aide to the prime minister said Wednesday.

Are you there and safe? Tell us what’s happening

Renfe’s spokesman said he did not know how many crew members were aboard the train when it crashed. Normally, there would be at least five crew members on a train like that, he said.

Officials appealed for blood donations just after the crash but on Thursday said the short-term needs were met.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, expressed condolences from the European Union.

Pope Francis, who is on a visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, sent a telegram to the bishop of Santiago de Compostela, Julian Barrio Barrio, offering his support and prayers for all those affected by the tragedy.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/25/world/europe/spain-train-crash/

Driver in deadly Spain train crash under scrutiny

A Spanish train that hurtled off the rails and smashed into a security wall as it rounded a bend was going so fast that carriages tumbled off the tracks like dominos, killing 80 people, including an American, and maiming dozens more.

Spain’s government said two probes have been launched into the train’s derailment Wednesday night on its approach to this Christian festival city in northwest Spain, where planned celebrations in honor of one of Jesus’ disciples gave way to a living nightmare.

The regional government in Galicia confirmed that police planned to question the 52-year-old train driver, in Santiago de Compostela’s main hospital with unspecified injuries, as both a witness and as a possible suspect, but cautioned that possible faults in safety equipment were also being investigated.

Spain’s lead investigator in the crash, Judge Vazquez TaDin, ordered detectives to question the train driver.

Renfe identified him as Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, as a 30-year employee of the state rail company who became an assistant driver in 2000 and a fully qualified driver in 2003. The company said Amo took control of the train from a second driver about 65 miles south of Santiago de Compostela.

CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported Amo had bragged last year on the internet about running his train right at the speed limit, saying any faster and he’d be fined.

Renfe’s president, Julio Gomez-Pomar Rodriguez, told Spain’s Cadena Cope radio network that the driver had worked on that route for more than one year.

An Associated Press analysis of images from video footage obtained Thursday suggested the train may have been traveling at twice the speed limit, or more, along that curved stretch of track. Spanish officials said the speed limit on that section of track is 50 miles per hour.

An Associated Press estimate of the train’s speed at the moment of impact using the time stamp of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons gives a range of 89-119 mph. Another estimate calculated on the basis of the typical distance between railroad ties gives a range of 96-112 mph.

The video footage, which the Spanish railway authority Adif said probably came from one of its cameras, shows the train carriages starting to buckle soon into the turn.

The cause of the crash seems to have been a deadly combination of high speed and low budgets, Phillips reports. In order to save money when updating the line between Madrid and the northwest coastal town of El Ferrol, the Spanish rail authority opted to use the existing right of way through Santiago de Compostela.

Murray Hughes, consultant editor of Railway Gazette International, said it appeared that a diesel-powered unit behind the lead locomotive was the first to derail. The front engine itself quickly followed, violently tipping on to its right side as it crashed into a concrete security wall and bulldozed along the ground.

In the background, all the rear carriages could be seen starting to decouple and come off the tracks. The picture went blank as the engine appeared to crash directly into the camera.

After impact, witnesses said a fire engulfed passengers trapped in at least one carriage, most likely driven by ruptured tanks of diesel fuel carried in the forward engines.

“I saw the train coming out of the bend at great speed and then there was a big noise,” one eyewitness who lives beside the train line, Consuelo Domingues, told The Associated Press. “… Then everybody tried to get out of the train.”

The Interior Ministry raised the death toll to 80 in what was Spain’s deadliest train wreck in four decades. The Galician government said 94 others remained hospitalized in six regional hospitals, 31 of them — including four children — in critical condition.

A State Department official confirmed to CBS News Thursday afternoon that one U.S. citizen died and five other Americans were injured in Wednesday’s crash. The official provided no other details except to say that those numbers might change with new information.

“Today the American people grieve with our Spanish friends, who are in our thoughts and prayers,” President Obama said in a statement.

One American survivor has sent a message from a hospital saying he’s OK, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported on “CBS This Morning” Thursday.

Another, however, was not so lucky. Roberto Fariza of Houston, Texas, said his wife was in critical condition. They were both passengers on the train.

“She got hurt very bad her scalp was all like that — flipped over — and she was bleeding out of her mouth and out of her ears, and she was conscious though…she knew what happened,” Fariza said of his wife on “CBS Evening News”.

In the morning, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Santiago de Compostela, toured the crash scene alongside rescue workers and went to a nearby hospital to visit those wounded and their families. In the evening Spain’s head of state, King Carlos, and Queen Sofia went to the same hospital, dressed in funereal black.

“For a native of Santiago, like me, this is the saddest day,” said Rajoy, who declared Spain would observe a three-day period of mourning. He said judicial authorities and the Public Works Ministry had launched parallel investigations into what caused the crash.

Santiago officials had been preparing for the city’s internationally celebrated Catholic festival Thursday but canceled it and took control of the city’s main indoor sports arena to use as a makeshift morgue. There, relatives of the dead could be seen sobbing and embracing each other.

The Interior Ministry, responsible for law and order, ruled out terrorism as a cause.

While sections of the Spanish press pointed an accusatory finger at the train driver, Spanish authorities and railway safety experts cautioned that a fault in systems designed to keep trains traveling at safe speeds could be to blame.

It was Spain’s deadliest train accident since 1972, when a train collided with a bus in southwest Spain, killing 86 people and injuring 112.

“July 24 will no longer be the eve of a day of celebration but rather one commemorating one of the saddest days in the history of Galicia,” said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, regional president of Galicia. Santiago de Compostela is its capital.

The accident created a scene that was “Dante-esque,” Feijoo said. He said Galicia would observe seven days of mourning.

Rescue workers spent the night searching through smashed carriages alongside the tracks.

As dawn broke, cranes brought to the scene were used to lift the carriages away from the tracks. Rescue workers collected passengers’ scattered luggage and loaded it into a truck next to the tracks.

Rescuers described a scene of horror immediately after the crash. Smoke billowed from at least one carriage that had caught fire, while another had been torn into two parts.

Residents of the residential neighborhood closest to the rail line struggled to help victims out of the toppled cars. Some passengers were pulled out of broken windows. Television images showed one man atop a carriage lying on its side, using a pickaxe to try to smash through a window. Other rescuers used rocks to try to free survivors from the fiery wreckage.

Nearby, rescue workers lined up bodies covered in blankets alongside the tracks.

Renfe said the crash happened at 8:41 p.m. (2:41 p.m. ET) about 2.5 miles south of Santiago de Compostela.

Renfe said it and Adif, which manages tracks, signals and other railway infrastructure, were cooperating with a judge appointed to investigate the accident.

It was the world’s third major rail accident this month.

On July 12, six people were killed and nearly 200 were injured when four cars of a passenger train derailed south of Paris.

On July 6, 72 cars carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, Ontario, setting off explosions and fires that killed 47 people.

Catholic pilgrims converge on Santiago de Compostela annually to celebrate a festival honoring St. James, a disciple of Jesus whose remains are said to rest in a shrine. The city is the main gathering point for those who reach the end of the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that has drawn Christians since the Middle Ages.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57595419/spain-train-derailment-may-be-result-of-high-speed/

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