Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Blasts Amtrak Engineer Brandon Bostian For The Crash & It's Too Early To Start Pointing Fingers
In the wake of the Tuesday Amtrak crash that left eight dead and more than 200 injured, officials are still trying to determine the exact cause of the derailment. There hasn't been an official announcement yet, but some people are already pointing fingers. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter blamed Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian for causing the crash with his "reckless" driving. While preliminary data does show that the speed of the train at the time of the derailment did exceed the normal limit, it remains wrong to jump to conclusions before an official cause has been given by investigators.
Mayor Nutter appeared on CNN's The Situation Room on Wednesday, saying:
Clearly it was reckless in terms of the driving by the engineer. There's no way in the world he should have been going that fast into the curve. I don't know what was going on with him (the engineer). I don't know what was going on in the cab, but there's really no excuse that can be offered, literally, unless he had a heart attack.
Data from the investigation has shown that the train was traveling at a speed of 106 miles per hour right before it derailed at the curve, which is more than twice the 50 m.p.h. limit for that particular curve. So it's not completely unsurprising or Nutter, perhaps feeling fresh anger from learning this fact, to immediately point fingers at Bostian for contributing to the crash.
That said, there very well could be factors and details that could have played a major part in the derailment. The reality is, until the investigation comes out, we just don't know yet.
In response to Mayor Nutter's damning accusations, National Transportation Safety Board official Robert Sumwalt criticized the finger pointing, telling CNN:
You're not going to hear the NTSB making comments like that. We want to get the facts before we start making judgments.
Sumwalt made an appearance on CBS This Morning on Thursday morning to shed more light on the circumstances. He said that Bostian "did apply the brakes" right before the train derailed, and that while "finding out the speed of the train was a very significant discovery" there could have been other reasons for the speed besides Bostian's driving. Thus, it's too early to jump to conclusions.
As for Bostian, his attorney has told ABC News that the engineer has no recollection of what happened right before the crash, nor does he have an explanation. All he remembers is driving to the general area of the crash site before losing consciousness. When he came to, he dialed 911. He was "very distraught" to learn of the passenger deaths, his attorney said, and is fully cooperating with authorities, handing over his cell phone and a blood sample.
An official explanation for the crash is expected in the next coming days. In the meantime, it won't help the investigation to assign blame out of anger. Images: Getty Images