Amtrak Crash in Philadelphia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Two men have been left dead and a further 35 injured when an Amtrak train collided with a crane in Philadelphia. None of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening. On board were 341 passengers and seven members of staff. The two fatalities are an Amtrak blackhoe operator and his supervisor, who were near the train at the time of the crash.

The Palmetto train was travelling from New York to Savannah, Georgia, at 7.53AM on Sunday, 3 April 2016 when the collision occurred in Chester, Delaware County near Philadelphia. By 4 April, services were resumed with some residual delay.

An Amtrak statement released later that day said:

“There were approximately 341 passengers and seven crew members on board. Initial reports are that some passengers are being treated for injuries. Local emergency responders are on the scene and an investigation is ongoing.”

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a fact-finding investigation, with Ryan Frigo, NTSB Investigator in Charge saying at a press briefing later on 3 April:

“As of now, we have recovered the event data recorder, the forward-facing video and the inward-facing video from the locomotive to send to our laboratory in Washington, D.C.”

It is not known when the investigative process will be concluded.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers President and CEO Jim Mathews released a statement on Sunday afternoon saying:

“We at NARP were saddened to learn this morning of the derailment just south of Philadelphia that has claimed at least two lives and injured many more. As a former firefighter/medic, I can attest to how chaotic these kinds of incidents can be and to how any initial information that emerges is often incorrect or incomplete. While it is too early to know how this incident occurred, I’m sure investigators will do a thorough job to help all of us understand how this tragedy occurred and how future incidents might be prevented.”

There are calls to invest  in America’s railways in response to the crash, with Connecticut Senator Richard Bulmenthal releasing a statement saying:

“Today’s tragedy further demonstrates the urgent need to rebuild our crumbling rail infrastructure and ensure safe operations nationwide. ‎My thoughts go out to the victims and their families after yet another tragic Amtrak accident, this one less than a year removed from the Philadelphia disaster and just weeks after a derailment in Kansas.”

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