NTSB: Amtrak 'Cascades’ engineer applied brakes seconds before crash

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WASHINGTON — The engineer of Amtrak Cascades train No. 501 started to apply the brakes seconds before the train derailed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Three people were killed and dozens more were injured in the derailment.

On Friday, the NTSB released the findings of an “initial review” of the in-cab camera. The lead locomotive event data recorder and cab cameras were all taken to NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., earlier this week following Monday’s fatal wreck near Olympia, Wash.

An Amtrak engineer and a conductor on a training run were both inside the cab at the time of the wreck. According to visual and audio recordings, neither one had been using personal cell phones in the minutes leading to the crash. About six seconds prior to the derailment, the engineer made a comment regarding an “over speed condition.” The engineer began to apply the locomotive brakes moments before the derailment.

The final frame of the in-cab camera shows both crew members bracing for impact. According to the event data recorder, or black box, the final recorded speed of the locomotive was 78 mph.

NTSB officials say they are still in the early stages of the investigation into the wreck of Amtrak train No. 501. The entire investigation is expected to take up to two years.
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