Investigators find train was speeding before crash that killed 3

World Today

Workers look over tracks near the rear car of a crashed Amtrak train that remains standing where the southbound tracks make a curve left Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in DuPont, Wash. The Amtrak train that careened off the overpass south of Seattle killing a few people on Monday, federal investigators say. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Investigators continued to sift through the wreckage of Monday’s train derailment in the U.S. state of Washington. Three people were killed and more than a hundred injured.

As CGTN’s Mark Niu reports, officials have determined the train was going too fast.

Passengers describe Monday’s accident as like being inside an exploding bomb.

The Heebners’s were on that trip which happened to be the train’s inaugural ride.

“A lot of tossing and squealing and rattling. The train kind of got dark, and I found myself on the floor,” Charlie Heebner said.

“Count your blessings. Try to live day to day, keep out of trouble. Maybe I should stay off trains,” Beverly Heebner continued.

As the train approached an overpass curve, 13 of the 14 passenger cars jumped the rails, tumbling onto rush hour traffic.

From information contained in the train’s data recorder, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the train was traveling at around 128 kilometers per hour while the speed limit was only 48.

That area of track also did not have activated — a technology called Positive Train Control or PTC– which prevents trains from reaching excessive speeds.

“We have recommended this PTC for decades, in fact, some form of PTC. And it actually was mandated, but unfortunately the deadline was moved farther into the future. And every year that we wait to implement PTC to its fullest extent means that more people are going to be killed and injured,” NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr said.

In 2013, the nearby city of Lakewood actually tried to sue the Washington State Department of Transportation to halt the project. And just two weeks ago, the city’s mayor said it was virtually inevitable that someone is going to get killed and that when someone does, he wants the department to comeback to explain why they didn’t put in safety enhancements.

Tuesday, at the scene of the accident, crews used cranes to remove the dangling trains and put them onto flatbed trucks.

Investigators still need to find out why the train was travelling so fast and whether the infrastructure failed despite having undergone millions of dollars of upgrades and weeks of testing.