Brake applied to Amtrak train seconds before impact

NTSB investigators at crash site.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, on Monday, examined the site of the collision of two trains that took place early Sunday morning in Cayce, at Charleston Highway and Pine Ridge Road.

According to data from recorders recovered from the crash, the Amtrak train that hit the stationary CSX freight train was braking in the final seconds before the fatal collision .  Michael Kempf, the Amtrak train’s engineer, and Michael Cella, its conductor, died in the crash

In the Monday afternoon briefing, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the data recording boxes from both trains were found undamaged.
He also said at seven seconds before impact, the horn of the Amtrak sounded for three seconds. At that point, the train was moving at 56 miles an hour, just below the allowable speed of 59 miles an hour.

Sumwalt said at five seconds prior to the crash, the train’s brake pipe pressure began decreasing, indicating the brakes were being applied, and the throttle was moved from full to idle. The speed was now down to 54 miles an hour at that point.

At three seconds priot to impact, emergency brakes were applied by the engineer of the Amtrak train. Then the Amtrak collided with the locomotive of the CSX train. The force of that collision  knocked the CSX train back 15 feet from its original location.

Sumwalt also said CSX and Amtrak crews have been interviewed, or will be interviewed.
NTSB investigators will be in town through the weekend.

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