The engineer has been identified in US media as Brandon Bostian, a 32-year-old New Yorker. His attorney Robert Goggin told ABC News yesterday night that Bostian had no explanation for the crash and no recollection of it either.
Bostian has provided a blood sample, turned over his cell phone and is cooperating with authorities, Goggin said, according to ABC. Bostian just remembers driving the train to the crash area and later getting "tossed around," ABC said.
He found his cell phone and called an emergency rescue number, Goggin added. Bostian suffered a concussion and a head wound that required 14 staples. He also suffered injuries to his legs, Goggin said. Investigators say the train was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour when the engineer slammed on the emergency brakes just before it derailed in Philadelphia.
The speed was more than twice the approved limit, and the brakes barely slowed the train before the cars tumbled off the track. Besides the fatalities, more than 200 people were injured. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cautioned that its first assessment of the data was preliminary, and that it would need more time to piece together what happened to Amtrak Train 188, headed from Washington to New York.
The initial information came in part from the train's "black box" data recorders. "Our mission is to find out not only what happened, but why it happened, so that we can prevent it from happening again," the NTSB's Robert Sumwalt told reporters, saying his team would be on the ground for a week.
The engineer's "full emergency brake application" only slowed the train speed from 106 miles (170 kilometers) per hour to 102 mph, Sumwalt said, noting: "It takes a long time and distance to decelerate a train." The speed limit entering the curve was just 50 miles per hour.