NTSB Rules Out Signal Malfunction in Deadly Amtrak Derailment in Philadelphia

Focus of investigation on engineer's cellphone usage day of crash

More than a week after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight and injuring more than 200, The National Transportation Safety Board said it's found no signal malfunctions along the tracks and announced that they are investigating the engineer's cellphone.

The NTSB said Wednesday that it had completed most of its onsite investigation in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, including finding "no anomalies or malfunctions" with signals. They said that additional 3D laser scanning of train cars would still take weeks to complete.

Investigators keep focused on the acceleration of the train as it approached the curve, finally reaching 106 mph as it entered the 50-mph stretch, and only managing to slow down slightly before the crash.

The NTSB also shared that they have Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian’s cellphone. Records show calls were made, texts were sent and data was used on Bostian's phone the day of the crash.

They say they're comparing the timing of the phone activity with data from the locomotive's event recorder and outward facing video, radio communications and surveillance video.

Bostian's lawyer says he kept the phone in a bag, using it only to call 911 afterward.

The NTSB also has completed interviews with the engineer of a stopped SEPTA train that was struck by an object a short time before Amtrak 188 passed, as well as passengers of the New York-bound train and emergency responders. The NTSB plans to hold more interviews in coming weeks.

The NTSB continues to update its investigation on a special “Investigations” page.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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