Amtrak Train Derailment Update: Seven Dead, Train Was Going 106 MPH [PHOTOS]
The death toll in the crash of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia Tuesday night has risen to seven.
More information is being learned about the train trip that night, including the fact that Amtrak's Northeast Regional Train #188 was going as fast as 106 mph, when it should have been going no faster than fifty miles per hour, the posted speed limit for that area.
Just moments before the derailment the train was placed into engineer-induced braking. This means that the engineer applied... full emergency brake application. – Robert Sumwalt, NTSB Board Member
Yesterday National Transportation Safety Board Member Robert Llewellyn Sumwalt, III confirmed that the speed would have made the train difficult to control. "Just moments before the derailment the train was placed into engineer-induced braking. This means that the engineer applied... full emergency brake application."
The engineer, who survived, has been identified as Brandon Bostian of Queens, New York.
This morning authorities are still combing through the wreckage in an attempt to find passengers. Seven have been confirmed dead; more than 230 on board were injured.
Among the dead are several residents of New York and New Jersey. ApprenNet CEO Rachel Jacobs and U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Justin Zemser were killed in the crash.
Not all passengers suspected on board the train have yet been accounted for. Among them is Ecolab executive Bob Gildersleeve. It is still not known for certain whether or not Gildersleeve was even on the train when it derailed.
And, as rescue crews continue to pick through crash rubble and debris, Congress is trying to stave off the potential for a legislative mess of its own. On Wednesday a House Appropriations Committee hearing was held over proposed funding cuts to Amtrak. Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor reported that the GOP-controlled committee rejected attempts by Democrats to boost spending for Amtrak by more than $1 billion. Of that $556 million was earmarked for the northeast corridor. The vote on the bill, which would cut Amtrak's budget by $251 million to $1.1 billion, was 30-21 along party lines.
After the vote The Washington Post quoted members responding to both the tragedy and the vote on Amtrak appropriations. Senator Bill Nelson, A Democrat from Florida, said, "Our heart goes out to the victims. But, at the same time, we’ve got to look to the future, and we’ve got to get our . . . collective heads out of the sand and start producing the funding for infrastructure investment.” Republican Senator Mike Simpson from Idaho said, "You have no idea what caused this accident...Don't use this tragedy in that way — it was beneath you.”
While Congress debates Amtrak's money issues, emergency crews will continue to work at the scene of the accident, in an effort to determine why the train was allowed to reach a speed which was twice that at which it was supposed to be travelling.