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Investigators Of New York Train Accident Determine Human Error As Cause

Image via WABC New York

Investigators of the New York train accident that occurred on the morning of Dec. 1 have determined that it was not track or equipment failure that lead to a train derailment that morning that caused the injury of 63 passengers as well as the death of four.

Survivors of the crash told the New York Daily News that something was not right when the train was not slowing it’s excessive speed

“We were going so fast around that turn, something wasn’t right,” said Kathleen Jones, passenger of the train told the Daily News. “All of a sudden, everyone went flying. We were dragging on the ground, people were landing on each other. Then there was dirt everywhere.”

During the initial investigation Metro-North engineer William Rockefeller told supervisors when he applied the breaks when the train was coming up on the turn, the train was not slowing down.

Due to the high speed the train was going, it caused the cars to derail near the Hudson River with one train car being dangerously close to the water.

Investigators have determined that it was actually human error that lead up to the crash. The New York Post reports that Rockefeller ‘zoned out’. Rockefeller states that he was ‘jolted back to reality’ when the whistle alerted him the train was going dangerously fast.

The New York Post also reports that the train’s black box indicated that Rockefeller did not apply the brakes on time and that the train’s throttle was thrown into neutral.

Rockefeller is still under investigation on whether he ‘zoned out’ as he told investigators or if he fell asleep.

Investigators also note the train was not equipped with a federally mandated positive train control (PTC) technology.

PTC would have warned the conductor the train was going at dangerous speeds. If for some reason the conductor is unable to act, the system would take over and apply the brakes automatically, assuming the brakes are in working order.

CBS News states railroad companies have two years before the federal mandate deadline to equip their trains with the PTC technology.

Some passengers were impaled from debris and three of the four dead were thrown out of the train cars during derailment.


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