Derailed train: Driver has no memory of crash

The derailed train, which killed a 34-year-old woman on the platform and injured 108 people at a Hoboken station last Thursday.
The derailed train, which killed a 34-year-old woman on the platform and injured 108 people at a Hoboken station last Thursday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

NEW YORK • The engineer of the New Jersey commuter train that crashed last week told investigators that he was fully rested but has no memory of the incident, and a recovered data recorder was not working, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official has said.

The derailed train at a Hoboken station killed a 34-year-old woman on the platform and injured 108 people during the morning rush hour last Thursday.

The terminal has some 60,000 people passing through on a typical weekday. New Jersey Transit said on Sunday that all rail service into and out of the Hoboken terminal remained suspended.

NTSB vice-chairman Bella Dinh- Zarr told a news conference that the agency was still in the "fact-gathering phase of the investigation".

The engineer, Mr Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year New Jersey Transit veteran who was injured when the train derailed, told investigators that the train was running at 16kmh when it was approaching the station, said Ms Dinh-Zarr.

Investigators at this time could not ascertain the speed of the train when it was near the station.

When interviewed by investigators, Mr Gallagher, 48, said he conducted various procedures, including checking the train's speedometer, and put his cellphone away during the trip. He said he had no memory of the accident.

Meanwhile, the train's conductor told investigators that he "didn't recall anything unusual" before the crash, Ms Dinh-Zarr said. One of the data recorders recovered was not working, but there is another one which is newer, she added. "We are hopeful it would be working."

The NTSB official also reiterated that the agency found nothing on the track that would have affected the train's performance.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Derailed train: Driver has no memory of crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe