Excessive speed cited in Amtrak train derailment

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The National Transportation Safety Board cited high speed as a possible factor in the Monday derailment of an Amtrak train in Washington state that left at least three people dead.

Data recorder information obtained from the rear locomotive indicated that the train was traveling at 80 mph in a 30-mph zone during its inaugural trip along a new route.

At a Monday news conference, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said the cause of the derailment was not yet known and that it was “too early to tell” why the train was traveling at such a high rate of speed.

According to police, at least three people were killed in the accident and more than 70 others were transported to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

Earlier Monday, Transportation Department spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said that the speed limit on the curve on which the derailment occurred was 30 mph.

“Engineers are trained to slow trains according to posted speeds,” LaBoe said.

In a conference call, Amtrak President Richard Anderson told reporters that Positive Train Control – technology enabled to slow or stop a speeding train – was not in use at the time of the derailment.

The FBI, which is assisting the NTSB in its investigation, announced that there was no evidence to suggest that the derailment was a result of terrorism.

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