At around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, 2015, an Amtrak train heading from Washington, D.C., to New York City derailed in Port Richmond just outside of Frankford Junction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The train was carrying 243 passengers on board, including the driver and four other crew members. The initial count at the time of the accident was 140 injured and five casualties. The death count increased to six after someone was rushed to the Temple University Hospital and was unable to be resuscitated after their arrival.
A statement released early Wednesday morning from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding the train accident. Anthony Foxx, the U.S. transportation secretary, said, that the Amtrak derailment is considered, “tragic accident,” be the agency. He also said it is imperative that bystanders and other passersby stay away from the scene of the crash to allow law enforcement officials, first responders, and investigators to examine the crash and extract other injured passengers. As of now, DOT authorities are at the site of the Amtrak derailment to investigate the exact cause of the accident.
Currently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stated the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the mission to find the root cause of the derailment. According to statements by them, the Amtrak derailment right now is said to only be an accident, and that no evidence of foul play has been found. The driver of the train was not injured in the incident. As of right now, he is being interviewed by NTSB investigators.
It is 15 hours since the Amtrak derailment and investigators have yet to find any foul play in connection with the incident. According to reports, a projectile struck a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) commuter train around Frankford Junction near the scene of the derailment. At around 9:25 p.m., an “unknown projectile,” broke the window of the engineer’s train car of northbound Train 769 heading to Trenton, New Jersey. The incident with the projectile happened on the Northeast Corridor beside the rails on which the derailed train was traveling, according the SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. “There is no indication at this time that the two incident are related in any way,” she said.
After the projectile hit Train 769, around 80 passengers were transported to their destination via another train, according to reports. No injuries on board were reported.
Daniel Hernandez, a resident in the neighborhood by the accident stated that he heard the derailment. He stated that the noise was, “like a bunch of shopping carts crashing into each other.” Moreover, he said after a few seconds, screaming and chaos ensued.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter stated that this is the worst thing he had ever seen happen in the city. In regards to the exact cause of the crash Nutter stated, “There is a curve, we have no idea what kind of speed we’re talking about.”
As NTSB investigators and other law enforcement officials try to find the root cause of the Amtrak derailment, all seven of the train cars will be examined to find any faulty equipment on board that could have cause the crash. As well, the speed at which the train was traveling will be reviewed to see if the Amtrak driver violated the rail speed limit to determine if any foul play was involved.
By Alex Lemieux
U.S. Department of Tranportation
NBC Philadelphia 1
NBC Philadelphia 2
Photo by Cliff – Creativecommons Flickr License