Human error or faulty equipment? NTSB continues probe into deadly Metro-North derailment

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YONKERS, N.Y. (PIX11) – Was it human error or a mechanical problem?

The National Transportation Safety Board remains in New York investigating Sunday’s deadly Metro-North train derailment.

“Today we are going to spend some time up at the rail yards, taking a closer look at the condition of the coaches, evaluating components like breaks, and so forth,” NTSB board member Earl Weener said Tuesday morning. “The signals work was done last night. I haven’t gotten a report as to what was found. Basically going into the test last night, everything looked normal.”

Weener said investigators will continue to interview the train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Reports out Tuesday morning quoted sources that said Rockefeller either dozed off or was inattentive before the derailment. Sources said he hit the brakes too late.

Weener told PIX11 News he had no knowledge of that yet and stressed interviews with Rockefeller were not complete.

Two black boxes were taken from the train to Washington D.C.  According to the NTSB, the data analysis is just beginning.

Investigators said initial data showed the Metro-North train was traveling 82 m.p.h on the Hudson line as it approached a sharp curve in The Bronx. When the train makes the turn, it is supposed to be going 30 m.p.h. The maximum speed allowed before the curve is 70 m.p.h.

Federal investigators said the throttle went idle 6 seconds before the engine stopped. The brakes were applied 5 seconds before the train derailed. The front car landed just feet from the Harlem River.

Four passengers died. Dozens were injured.

Officials said Rockefeller’s cell phone was recovered after the crash and he was tested for alcohol and drugs.

Results have not been released yet.

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