Derailment: Midshipman Laid to Rest
Here’s what we know on the Friday afternoon after the Tuesday Amtrak derailment that killed eight people:
• The first funeral was held. “The funeral for Justin Zemser, the 20-year-old U.S. Naval Academy midshipman killed earlier this week in the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, took place Friday morning at the Boulevard-Riverside-Hewlett Chapel in Hewlett,” Newsday reports. “Zemser was the high school valedictorian at the Channel View School for Research, where he also was student body president and captain of the football team. He played football for Navy — and wanted to become a Navy SEAL.”
• The scene has been cleared. “The last wrecked railcars from the deadly Amtrak accident were removed Friday as investigators tried to figure out why the train sped up from 70 mph to over 100 mph in the minute before it went into a sharp bend,” AP reports.
• The train’s engineer reportedly gave warnings about the potential for human error in the system. “Long before Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 jumped the rails at excessive speed, engineerBrandon Bostian apparently was an online advocate to prevent this kind of calamity — technology to slow a dangerously fast train when an engineer does not,” CNN reports. “‘They have had nearly a hundred years of opportunity to implement SOME sort of system to mitigate human error,’ one post read. ‘But with a few notable exceptions (the rail industry) has failed to do so.’ This message was one of several in recent years appearing to be written by Bostian on TrainOrders.com, which describes itself as a ‘railfan site’ with photos, multimedia, chat and discussion forums.”
• The healing has just begun: “US senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) paid a visit today to doctors at Temple University Hospital,” KYW reports. “He says he noted one issue of concern going forward: ‘Their emergency room is just not big enough, and they need more space, and they need to have some work done there.’”
• Meanwhile, back in Washington D.C.: “U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has accused House Speaker John Boehner jjof “massive ignorance” about rail safety and wants Congress to pay for rail infrastructure improvements after Amtrak’s deadly derailment,” AP reports. “Boehner, an Ohio Republican, ridiculed a reporter Thursday for asking whether the crash was caused by a lack of federal funds for Amtrak.”