News Americas

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Train may have been 'hit' before derailing

Mary Claire Dale

Published 17/05/2015 | 02:30

Emergency workers and Amtrak personnel inspect a derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 13, 2015. The commuter rail route where an Amtrak train left the track on Tuesday was not governed by an advanced safety technology meant to prevent high-speed derailments, officials familiar with the investigation said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Emergency workers and Amtrak personnel inspect a derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 13, 2015. The commuter rail route where an Amtrak train left the track on Tuesday was not governed by an advanced safety technology meant to prevent high-speed derailments, officials familiar with the investigation said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The FBI has been called in to investigate the possibility the windshield of an Amtrak train was hit with an object shortly before the train derailed this week in a crash that killed eight people and injured about 200 more.

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The revelation came at a briefing this weekend, raising new questions about the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) declined to speculate about the exact significance of a projectile, but the idea raised the possibility that the engineer might have been distracted, panicked or even wounded in the moments before the train left the rails.

The train sped up to twice the speed limit when it was supposed to be slowing down as it entered a sharp bend in the tracks on its way from Washington to New York.

The NTSB said the FBI will focus its investigation on the windshield of the train.

The information about a projectile came from an assistant conductor, who said she heard the Amtrak engineer and the engineer from a nearby regional train talking just before the derailment, saying his train had been hit by an object.

The derailment shattered the Amtrak train's windshield. But the NTSB said there were concentric circles on a lower left corner of the glass.

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