NTSB: No evidence Amtrak engineer used cellphone at time of Philadelphia crash


The engineer at the helm of Amtrak Train 188 on May 13, 2015, was Brandon Bostian, 32, of New York.

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WASHINGTON — Investigators believe Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was not using his cellphone for calls, texts or Internet while he was operating the train that crashed May 12 in Philadelphia, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday, citing analysis of his phone records.

Also, Amtrak’s records “confirm that the engineer did not access the train’s Wi-Fi system while he was operating the locomotive,” the NTSB said.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Train No. 188 derailed minutes after it left a Philadelphia station on the night of May 12, leaving eight people dead and more than 200 injured.

The New York-bound train had just entered a curve at 106 mph, through the curve had a speed limit of 50 mph. The engineer applied emergency brakes as it entered the curve, but the locomotive and all seven passenger cars derailed, the NTSB said in its preliminary report.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Bostian had told investigators he does not recall anything that happened right before the crash.

In the preliminary report the NTSB released last week, investigators said forensic experts were examining Bostian’s phone and the phone records.

Investigators have been frustrated by the lack of clarity about what went on inside the cab of the train that crashed. Currently, Amtrak trains have cameras facing outward, along with a so-called black box, or data recorder that measures locomotive and engineer actions.

Amtrak announced in late May that it would begin installing inward facing cameras

On the week of the accident, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said Bostian could not remember anything beyond pulling the whistle as he drove past the North Philadelphia station, three miles earlier.

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