PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — An assistant conductor said she thought she heard an Amtrak train engineer say his train had been hit by projectiles before the derailment this week, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.
The FBI has now been asked to join the investigation, according to NTSB member Robert Sumwalt. Meanwhile, exclusive surveillance video from the crash scene shows the train flying by, high voltage wires snapping, and the cars flying off the rails.
The NTSB on Friday interviewed engineer Brandon Bostian, as well as two assistant conductors who were on the Amtrak Train No. 188 from Washington, D.C. to Penn Station, which wrecked in Philadelphia Tuesday night. The train accelerated from 70 mph to over 100 mph in the minute before it went into a sharp bend.
The 39-year-old assistant conductor, who had been working in the café car, said about three or four minutes after leaving the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, she heard the engineer talking to an engineer from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Sumwalt said.
The assistant conductor recalled that the SEPTA engineer had reported to a train dispatcher that his train had either been hit by a rock or shot at, and that his SEPTA train had been left with a broken windshield and had been placed in an emergency stop.
The assistant conductor also said she heard Bostian say something about his own train being struck by an object, Sumwalt said.
A spokeswoman for the SEPTA said Wednesday that the commuter train was hit by the projectile about 20 minutes before the Amtrak derailment up the same track, CBS Philly reported.
SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said they don’t know what the projectile was. It broke the engineer’s window around 9:25 p.m. Tuesday near SEPTA’s North Philadelphia station. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Williams says the Trenton-bound commuter train was stopped and the incident was being investigated when the Amtrak derailment happened about 3 1/2 miles away.