NTSB: No Evidence Engineer Used Cell Phone
Federal investigators say they have found no evidence that the engineer in last month’s fatal Amtrak derailment was using his cell phone while he should’ve been operating the train.
“Analysis of the phone records does not indicate that any calls, texts, or data usage occurred during the time the engineer was operating the train,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a press release today. “Amtrak’s records confirm that the engineer did not access the train’s Wi-Fi system while he was operating the locomotive.”
However, NTSB officials said the engineer’s phone was still under examination — to determine if he might’ve been using it in “airplane mode” when the accident occurred.
“To determine whether the phone was in ‘airplane mode’ or was powered off, investigators in the NTSB laboratory in Washington have been examining the phone’s operating system, which contains more than 400,000 files of meta-data,” the agency said. “Investigators are obtaining a phone identical to the engineer’s phone as an exemplar model and will be running tests to validate the data.”
Eight people died in the May 12 crash in Philadelphia. The train was running more than 100 mph when it reached a curve where the maximum allowed speed is about half that. The engineer has told investigators he does not recall the crash; they have been seeking evidence on whether or not he was distracted at the moment of the accident.