Buttigieg Breaks Silence On Ohio Train Derailment As NTSB Cites 'Wheel Bearing Failure'

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Feb 14, 2023 - 06:41 PM

Update (1345ET): The NTSB has said in a Tuesday statement that "investigators have identified and examined the rail car that initiated the derailment," adding "Surveillance video from a residence showed what appears to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment."

The agency says it will publish a preliminary report on the incident in two weeks, as it is still examining evidence from the train and cars.

NTSB investigators have identified and examined the rail car that initiated the derailment. Surveillance video from a residence showed what appears to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment. The wheelset from the suspected railcar has been collected as evidence for metallurgical examination. The suspected overheated wheel bearing has been collected and will be examined by engineers from the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

The tank cars are currently being decontaminated. Once the process is complete, NTSB investigators will return to Ohio to complete a thorough examination of the tank cars.

The vinyl chloride tank car top fittings, including the relief valves, were removed and secured in a locked intermodal container pending an NTSB examination. Once the fittings are examined by NTSB investigators, they will be shipped to Texas for testing, which will be conducted under the direction of the NTSB.

According to the press release, the NTSB has obtained "locomotive event recorder data, forward- and inward-facing image recording data and wayside defect detector data."

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Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has broken his silence on the disastrous derailment of a train in Ohio that released a toxic chemical, sparking health concerns.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gives a live interview to the news media outside of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 13, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The fiery crash in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3 involved about 50 cars, with some carrying hazardous materials, including the highly flammable chemical vinyl chloride.

The dangerous toxin was released into the air from five of the derailed cars before crews ignited it to get rid of the highly flammable chemical in a controlled fashion.

Area residents were evacuated because of the health risks from the fumes, though they have since been allowed back to their homes.

So far, there have been reports from local residents of animals dying off, including fish, chickens, and livestock.

Few federal officials have made public statements regarding the derailment and the toxic fire, and Buttigieg did not reference the incident during a Feb. 13 appearance at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington.

‘Actively Engaged’

During the on-stage discussion, Buttigieg touched on topics like racial disparity and mentioned the safety risks of “balloons,” drawing laughs from the audience. But his avoidance of the topic of the derailment and the toxic chemical release didn’t go over well on social media, where critics complained that he seemed to be dodging the subject.

Buttigieg broke his silence following the criticism, posting on Twitter a series of statements.

I continue to be concerned about the impacts of the Feb 3 train derailment near East Palestine, OH, and the effects on families in the ten days since their lives were upended through no fault of their own,” he said in a post on Twitter.

He made reference to an investigation into the accident being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), noting that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was assisting with the probe.

“Our Federal Rail Administration and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials teams were onsite within hours of the initial incident and continue to be actively engaged,” he said.

“We will look to these investigation results & based on them, use all relevant authorities to ensure accountability and continue to support safety,” Buttigieg continued.

As The American Prospect also reports, in a private Facebook group, East Palestine residents have shared anecdotes of continued lung irritation, headaches, and more.

Over the weekend, several residents posted images of their children suffering from rashes spread along their arms and faces. Others have described their homes as covered in residue, even after cleaning services were hired, suggesting that despite the notice that it was safe to return, residue from the accident remains in the air. Inside the group, they are urging each other to keep meticulous documentation for any future action against Norfolk Southern...

...Against this backdrop, a blighted landscape remains.

Advocacy groups have urged residents to call upon Gov. DeWine to request an emergency declaration from President Biden. At time of publication, an emergency has not been declared, leaving residents alone to attempt piecing their lives back together.

Meanwhile, a West Virginia water utility has enhanced its water treatment process as a precaution following the derailment.

West Virginia American Water said Sunday that there hasn’t been any change in raw water at its Ohio River intake.

“The health and safety of our customers is a priority, and there are currently no drinking water advisories in place for customers,” the company said in a statement.

It added that it is planning to install a secondary intake on the Guyandotte River in case there’s a need to switch to an alternate water source.

Read more here...