NTSB Examines Black Box and Amtrak Train Video to Determine Cause of Montana Derailment |

(CNN) – The National Transportation Safety Board said it was examining the onboard video as well as data from the Amtrak Empire Builder train’s “black box” that derailed in rural Montana Saturday, it left three dead and at least seven hospitalized.

Eight cars from Amtrak’s Empire Builder 7/27 train traveling from Chicago to Seattle / Portland hopped on the tracks around 4 p.m. near Joplin, MT, Amtrak said. Joplin is approximately 30 miles south of the Canadian border with a population of around 150 people.

The train consisted of two locomotives and 10 cars and there were around 141 passengers and 16 crew on board, the company said.

The train had two locomotives and 10 cars.

NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said a team of 14 investigators and field experts will review the front-facing video of the train as well as the video from the same point of view of a freight train passing through the area. almost an hour and a half ago.

“We don’t know if it was a track problem or a problem with the train, so all of these things are open,” Landsberg said. “There is a lot of ground to cover and there is significant damage, so our experts are really going to look into that. “

Landsberg says data from the train shows it was traveling between 75 and 78 miles per hour before exiting a right-turn section of track where the speed limit was 79 miles per hour. Investigators will also interview the train crew as well as BNSF track inspectors who carried out an inspection where the train left the track.

In a statement Sunday, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said the company was in mourning for those killed and injured.

“We have no words to adequately express our sadness for those who have lost a loved one or been injured in this horrific event. They are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Flynn.

He said Amtrak was “fully cooperating with the investigation” and working closely with the NTSB, the Federal Railroad Administration, local law enforcement and response agencies.

NTSB examines black box and video of Amtrak train to determine cause of derailment in Montana

Workers stand near the overturned cars of an Amtrak train that derailed on Saturday, just west of Joplin in Mt. The Westbound Empire Builder was en route to Seattle from Chicago with two locomotives and 10 cars.

“We share the sense of urgency to understand why the accident happened; however, until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further on the accident itself. The NTSB will identify the causes of this accident, and Amtrak is committed to taking the appropriate actions to prevent a similar accident from happening again in the future, ”the statement said.

Passenger describes shock from derailment

Megan Vandervest, a passenger in a sleeper car on the train, was taking a nap when the derailment woke her up.

“I would describe the experience as kind of extreme turbulence in an airplane, but stronger, and there was kind of a smoke smell. The first thought I really had when I woke up was, ‘Oh my God, we’re off the rails, ”she told CNN.

“It was probably 10 or 15 seconds of back and forth and tons of noise, and then we stopped. Really, we didn’t know what was going on for a few minutes.”

Vandervest said she was evacuated within 10 minutes of the incident and then did not understand the extent of the damage.

“We kind of thought the car behind us had come off slightly or something, but it ended up being a lot worse and a lot more shocking to see when we got off the train,” she said. . “The car behind ours was a little off, then the one behind that was sort of between two sets of tracks, and the one behind that had completely overturned and fell and that was sort of the most part. shocking. “

Seven people remain hospitalized

Injured passengers were transported by ambulance to nearby towns, and those in critical condition were airlifted for treatment, said Amanda Frickel, disaster and emergency services coordinator for Hill County, in Montana.

Two patients remain hospitalized at Logan Health in Kalispell, according to hospital spokesperson Mellody Sharpton.

“Both patients are doing well enough to come out soon,” Sharpton said.

Casey Husted, vice president of communications at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, told CNN that five5 patients remain at their hospital.

Husted told CNN that “they are in stable condition, although some require ICU level care.”

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte offered “thoughts and prayers” to those affected by “the heartbreaking event.”

“In the face of the tragedy, the Montanais did what they did best,” Gianforte said at a press conference on Sunday. He thanked the community at large for coming together, saying it was “the whole Hi-Line effort”.

Empire Builder train runs between Chicago-St. Paul / Minneapolis and Spokane-Portland / Seattle, according to Amtrak’s website, and offers passengers a chance to “experience the wild splendor of the American West”.

“Traveling between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest along large portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail, the mighty Empire Builder takes you on a thrilling adventure through majestic wilderness, following in the footsteps of early settlers,” adds the website.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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