Amtrak Regional 188, with over 200 passengers aboard, was traveling at 106 mph just before "the entire train derailed" in Philadelphia, federal investigators said Wednesday, according to NBC News, more than twice the speed limit at the curve where it hurtled off the tracks. With the death toll now raised to seven, and officials still unable to account for everyone on board, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter exclaimed, "I don't believe that anyone standing here today has any memory of a derailment of this kind in 50 years," and judging by the following clip - we are stunned the fatality count was so low.
The locomotive and all seven passenger cars of the train went off the tracks at a tight curve at Frankford Junction, just northeast of center city Philadelphia. As The Wall Street Journal details, multiple cars overturned, severely injuring some passengers and pinning others.
At least seven were killed, and more than 200 passengers were injured, including eight who were in critical condition Wednesday afternoon. The seven dead comprised four people whose bodies were found inside the train, two who were found outside and one who died at a hospital, police Lt. John Walker told NBC Philadelphia.
The northbound train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members when it derailed about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on its way to New York.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the main federal agency investigating the derailment, said preliminary data put the train’s speed above 100 miles an hour.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the speed limit drops from 80 mph to 50 mph at the curve where the train derailed. But the train was hurtling along at 106 mph when the engineer slammed the emergency brake — slowing the train only to 102 mph when its recorders stopped recording data, said Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
At that point, "the entire train derailed," Sumwalt said.
Dozens of people were still being treated in Philadelphia hospitals with injuries ranging from cuts and broken bones to head trauma.
Chief Medical Officer Herbert Cushing said Temple University Hospital, where many of the most seriously injured were being treated, had eight patients in critical condition, who he said "are going to do just fine."
"Almost everyone has rib fractures," Cushing said, which indicates that "they rattled around in the train car a lot."
All of the patients at Temple are adults ranging in age from their early 20s to their 80s, Cushing said. Patients from Spain, Belgium, Germany, India and Albania are among those involved.
The engineer of the train was also injured and gave a statement to police, Nutter said.
The derailment damaged all seven cars of the train, including some that were overturned and one that was mangled. Passengers and luggage were tossed around inside, and survivors described having to force doors open or clamber through windows to safety.
Grainy security footage from a nearby camera captured several flashes of bright light as the train crashed.
Eye witness accounts are terrifying...
Andrew Brenner, 29, a public-relations expert who lives in Washington, said he was relaxing and texting in the last car with his shoes off. He said he noticed that the train seemed to be taking a curve rather fast, but it didn’t cause much alarm. Then, the train jolted and swayed. Within moments, Mr. Brenner said he and other passengers were tossed around cars as seats were ripped from the train floor.
“I got thrown like a penny,” said Mr. Brenner, who said he weighs 250 pounds. “That is how violent this was.”
After the crash, Mr. Brenner said he was taken along with other passengers by bus to a hospital, where X-rays showed damage to his vertebrae.
Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Beth Davidz, 35, said she remembered only a hard turn and a jerk. “Then it was just blackness. I was bouncing up and down in blackness,” she said.
Although she tried not to look at the wreckage as she left the train, she noticed the first and second cars looked badly damaged. “I didn’t see anyone getting out,” said Ms. Davidz, a project director with a Philadelphia-based startup.
More than 120 firefighters and 200 police responded to the chaotic scene that included several badly mangled railcars, officials said.
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US Passenger train injries are on the rise...
Amtrak suspended service between New York and Philadelphia on its Northeast Corridor, the busiest stretch of track in the country for passenger travel. The section of track where the train derailed will have to be rebuilt.
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The engineer of the derailed Amtrak train has been identified as 32 year old Brandon Bostian...