Nutter Won’t Confirm Speed at Fault in Amtrak Derailment
The search for Amtrak derailment survivors has spread beyond the cars passengers were traveling in when Tuesday night’s accident occurred, Mayor Michael Nutter said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
“The search is very, very active” for missing people, including people who might’ve been thrown from the train, Nutter said. “We will not cease our efforts until we’re sure we’ve gone through every vehicle.”
Nutter refused to comment on reports the train might’ve been traveling 100 mph — in an area where rail traffic is limited to 50 mph — saying: “I don’t believe the NTSB would be in a position to confirm that … Let us please not try to speculate what you could find out in fact in a couple of days.”
Even as he spoke, though, the Associated Press reported it had seen a surveillance video showing the train exceeding 100 mph.
“An analysis by The Associated Press of surveillance video just before the deadly crash of an Amtrak train indicates it was traveling about 107 miles per hour as it approached a curve where the speed limit was only 50 miles per hour,” the agency reported. “The video shows the train — which was roughly 662 feet long — passes the camera in just over five seconds.”
Similarly, the New York Times added its own confirmation of that account, saying that two people close to the investigation conformed that the “speed of the train was recorded in the so-called black box data recorders that were recovered from the wreckage.”
Nutter, however, did directly address reports that other trains traveling the same area had been hit by projectiles during the evening. “That may have been stones or rocks,” he said. “Nothing to do with this particular incident.”
The mayor was joined by U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey. They each pledged maximum support from the federal government during the investigation.
“This scene is a horrific and heartbreaking scene,” Toomey said.
Nutter said he had spoken to President Barack Obama about the rescue and investigation efforts. “The president is very concerned about what has happened here,” Nutter said. “He was tremendously supportive and encouraging of our efforts here.”
Nutter asked the community to refrain from jumping into policy debates raised by the crash. There will be time enough for such debates later, he suggested, adding, “We’ve suffered a tragedy in our city.”
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