Investigators Say Deadly Train Crash Could’ve Been Avoided

CAYCE, SC (WOLO)- Federal investigators say Sunday’s deadly train crash could’ve been avoided.

Officials say a CSX crew member apparently didn’t follow policy which caused the crash. However they’re doing a thorough investigation to find out why.

On Sunday, while more than 100 train passengers were sleeping, a head on collision gave them a rude awakening. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed that two Amtrak employees were killed and hundreds more were injured.

NTSB investigators say a crew member for freight company CSX didn’t follow policy leaving the switch in the wrong position.

“Would the policy be to realign the switch with the main track,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said. “The answer is yes. They had already released their authority to the dispatcher. They said we’re through, which would indicate that they had done everything they needed to do.”

Whatever they didn’t do is what officials say caused a deadly mistake. Investigators say the Amtrak train left the mainline and slammed right into the parked freight train.

“It would be easy to latch on the proximate cause and say this might be the error,” Sumwalt said. “But our investigations are thorough and we want to understand the underline reasons for that. It’s not the end of the investigation, the way I look at it, its the beginning.”

The Amtrak pressed breaks 5 seconds before impact, while traveling at 54 miles per hour.

In a tragic twist, CSX is in the process of upgrading to a train control system, which if installed would’ve prevented all of this from happening.
In NTSB’s  first day of investigation, they have interviewed four CSX crew members and will interview the surviving Amtrack personal on Tuesday.