NTSB and Senator Chuck Schumer on the Deadly New York Train Derailment

Digital special report on train derailment that killed 4 and injured more than 70 people.
3:00 | 12/02/13

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Transcript for NTSB and Senator Chuck Schumer on the Deadly New York Train Derailment
This is a special group. I'm Dan -- for -- New York with a CBC news digital special report on a deadly train accident. The ongoing investigation continuing in new York and right now the NTSB is about to hold a news commerce -- the latest on the investigation. This is some of the latest video that is just come in from the NTSB a close up look of those metro north commuter trains. That the -- yesterday four people were killed 74 others were injured. It is suspected that the train was going too fast. Right now we are here that the NTSB is saying that the train was going about 82. Miles an hour six let's listen in veterans as -- are having little operation. In this outwards and use. That's -- five seconds before that it rear engine came to a stop. The brake pressure drop from 120 PSI. To zero. Resulting in full application of the brakes. At this point the investigation we don't know what the initiating event was for either the throttle going to -- For the brake pressure dropping to zero. Our investigators will be carefully reviewing. All the data to determine a functioning of the breaks throughout the trip. And to determine why the throw went to zero very professionally to Cyril. As you may know -- -- made nine stops prior to do you railing. We need to understand how the brake system was working throughout that part of the trip. At this point we are not aware of any problems -- anomalies with the brakes. Also today we began interviewing the engineer the interview will be can continue to over the next couple of days. We have interviews in process with the other 230. The other three crew members. Investigators from the track group have completed the assessment of the track. Have conducted a detailed engineering and survey of the site. Earlier this afternoon we released the tracked back to metro. Metro north's. Investigators completed some of this signals testing the rest of the signals testing we'll have to be accomplished tonight. Late at night when the traffic is commendable and -- Earlier this afternoon MTA provided us with a copy of a surveillance video from. Nearby bridge. That surveillance video was of low quality. We've sent it back to Washington DC to a laboratory -- -- -- -- -- enhanced. The -- cellphone has been recovered. As this part of our routine process. And the forensic event evaluation of that cell phone will be provided to the NTSB. Finally all seven cars and the locomotive. Have been re railed and our team is conducted the preliminary assessment of five of those cars and the locomotive. The two remaining cars are in the process of being inspected at this point. As soon as that's completed all of the -- and the locomotive will be moved to secure facility. For further examination and evaluation. In the next few days. Our investigators will continue their on scene work tomorrow. Including interviews. Inspections. And documentation the other. Without I'd be willing to take a few questions we're. Here. In Atlanta this room so the question is was this human error or faulty equipment. The answers at this point in time we can't tell. At this point in time that the data is preliminary but we can state. Here's what happened we know speeds. Positions of power settings and brake application. We don't know whether the brakes. Went to zero pressure because of -- -- change or because of -- and break up. That will be determined so of course as the investigation continues. It is so far he told staffers -- at least -- idolized -- seconds -- five seconds they're great pressure drop to zero here in layman's terms. And what does that tell us what does that tell you. That's -- six seconds before that engine came to a stop. And then when it came to a stop it and do you -- You -- -- If you know laid over partly on -- side. Six seconds to coming to a stop. The -- have been and the power. That at some policy. So it was only six seconds before everything came to stuff that the throttle when title. This was late in the game. Very late in the game and at 82 miles an hour that train was going too -- -- before the zone leading up to that her. The zone leading up to the curve for the seventy mile an hour zone. And yes it was in excess of that community. Life was going back. That's the question we need to answer. At this point as I said this is preliminary data this is raw data off of the event recorders. So it tells us what happened. Doesn't tell us why he's. Here. -- -- I can't do that the interviews have started. But we don't. Release any of the interview records until all of the interviews have been conducted. He's going in order to. -- Revealed. -- -- second. The book of that box. Provides have quite a -- -- -- data we will be looking at that data to understand. How the trade. Was being managed was accelerating coming up into that -- But at this point in time again this this is very early data. Basically raw data right off the report it would veterans. And refuse. You know. But -- it worse. -- -- -- -- The locomotive. And you've probably seen the pictures as much as. What was basically just different just nearly inside the -- So it was not very far to -- -- how forward traveled success. I guess a man who has been asking is that this is it does -- come off -- place -- comes up for grabs. It will look and. -- there would be close together. That would be close together but I -- without analyzing and if it's hard to say exactly what -- think -- -- -- -- -- -- yeah. There. The road drug and alcohol testing. That has been completed but the results. Have not been made available -- us with -- The truth. Hillside communities where the great pressure to easier means through the average -- us. They pressure. In the time that the brake pressure with a 05 seconds prior to that he. Stuff. That due to the complete stop of the locomotive. The brakes are held off buy it by pressure so at a 120 PSI the brakes are held off. When -- pressured to do diminishes. Particularly when it goes to zero for breaking application. -- -- -- -- Don't know that at this point. Welcome America. This could you explain was how that how worthless he engines to back and the engineer -- -- -- it's from the producers. How does he -- practically the last question. How does he operate the train and a -- configuration and engineers and the cab car up from there and he and what is -- other lines that run back for a war. There's there's controls that run back for the locomotive because all the motive power is that the locomotive. Thank you. Okay -- to me just say a couple words here. And then senator Blumenthal. First it is very good that the NTSB is in full charge. They are Smart they are confidence. And they are independent. And I have worked with them on unfortunately numerous tragedies here in New York Post on the grounds and in the air. And they come up with -- thorough data. They give it to you as quickly they can but they don't rush. If they want to make sure everything is completely. Squared so when they tell you what's -- 82 miles an hour it's pretty safe bet that that's exactly what happened. They are they -- it was the NTSB was set up by congress. To be independent and to come in sort of coming from on top if you little -- swooped in. And give a complete independent investigation so no one who has biases will be involved and I -- -- 9% of believe told -- Complete faith in this investigation. When the often times when they finish their investigation congress takes there findings and puts them into law that's what happened with the crash in the buffalo. Buffalo airplane we now have laws that are date better because the NTSB down there was so much pilot fatigue. Let me we were briefed and -- been on the phone with not only the folks here but miss Serra harassment. And let me just say a couple of things first when I heard about the speed. -- -- It sort of takes your breath away. For a train to be going 82 miles an hour around that curve. Is just a frightening thought. And the fact that it was going -- 82 miles an hour even in the seventy mile an hour zones before the -- started. It is. -- so many questions. And it's scary. Second point I would say. It is this. They've informed us that it looks pretty certain that the tracks were okay. There's still undergoing signaling what preliminarily in looking at the signals they were okay so there are two choices. One would be human error on behalf to the engineer the other would be mechanical error on the locomotives. And they will -- thoroughly into that over the next few days and come up with a good answer. But it's premature to blame anyone or any -- Right now. Final thing I guess I would say. Is this. Rail safety is darn good in America overrule. There haven't been many deaths things are safer today than there were even five years ago -- -- because of the NTSB. But it can always be better real -- good but it can be better. And I'm sure we ask the people on that train in the families who were lost -- say it could be a lot better. And we will do everything we can at the congressional level to make sure that they get all the resources they need. And whatever findings that they. Fines. Are applied not only to metro north and the MTA. But two railroads around the country. -- -- -- -- -- First of all I wanna join my thanks to the NTSB. The staff who have disrupted their holidays and come here on literally a moment's notice and -- senator Schumer and I want to. Thank him for his leadership he's really -- -- at the forefront of rail safety efforts for a long time. I also want to express my appreciation to -- -- person in the chairman of the NTSB and also to secretary fox Anthony fox who's -- to the job. Reached out to me and I know he is very very focused as are many federal officials on this incident. This. Very serious tragic. Incident is the fifth. In a little more than six months that has -- very important. And profound questions about safety and reliability at metro north. And like senator Schumer when I heard about the 82 miles an hour. My breath was taken. It's beyond frightening -- -- to think that a train. Was going 82 miles an hour before. A curve that. Required. A thirty mile an hour trying to slow so substantially. Even and a seventy -- seventy mile an hour zone 82. Was. Completely unsafe weather. To be. Crash here occurred because of human error or equipment malfunction. That train was going way too fast. And certainly speed was a contributing factor whether it was the. Proximate causes. I -- said as. Lawyer in my former life whether it was the main cause it's certainly contributed to -- in the current. And I -- bank BN TSB for calling attention. To the circumstances so far as they're known now because they've begun answering questions writers. Are losing patience. And so are a lot of us as public officials. Because we want answers to know why these incidents have occurred and -- That call into question safety and reliability. Writers deserve answers so do the public because. Rail safety and vitally important not only. To the riders and commuters but two economic growth and job creation throughout this region it's one. Track the metaphorically speaking it's one artery the busiest in the country. And we will lose jobs. And economic growth if we fail to guarantee safety and reliability so. I'm hopeful that we'll see answers quickly. Too though the key question here was it human error or equipment malfunction. And also the results of the toxicology. And other tests that were done in immediately have yet. We will take questions every. -- -- -- -- They're analyzing those records now we have not been given results but there's one obvious point here. And that is the train did make nine stops. Before. Coming to this -- And so clearly the brakes were working short time before the train. Came to this -- Does that point to human error brake failure I think that's premature to say but obviously. These breaks warrant long term. Not working. -- -- -- Positive and call it. Well that's one of the things -- it's too early to say because of the we have to wait for the investigation would -- have done some good here we don't know but obviously. As I mentioned after -- investigation we try to make sure that the lessons of that investigation. Are applied. Legislatively. -- by regulation. And it's worked pretty well so far again our safety record overall and transportation has gotten better and better. And certainly. This. This incident if anything heightens the importance of additional safety measures like that one. And in my own mind speaking only for myself. I'd be very -- to. Be more flexible or grant more time additional delay certainly is not in the interest of real say yes. -- -- good point. This could be very few. The initial we've asked I've asked people at the NTSB that as well as said the railroad experts. They have found that pushing is is just to say false things being equal than pulling. That there is no. -- no more negative factor to safety when a locomotive is at the back and pushes as when -- poles and it's been done countless times. On this -- With no incident so I think -- got to be very careful. Before saying that it because the engine was behind even though that's not. The trains that we're all familiar with my electric -- the engine was never a great work the same way -- the brakes -- on -- -- by the way whether it's pushed -- -- is in the front. Still operating the engine from the back but he was she in the front. -- -- OK well. I'd have to look at what I said -- -- Upon being sent forensics but at least we -- whether -- calls. Do -- -- -- was activated in time did it's that it's premature to sit there looking at all of that but in terms of -- engineer. And what his state was who we talk to what he did I think they're gonna wait until they have a complete report before saying anything that there's -- -- -- Clinton. It I think twenty years. I'd have a long time he has a good reputation. And has been an engineer for a long period of time. -- Let's go to. Your son and I think. Over time. I can't answer a question we're in the process of looking -- history. But at this point -- was premature to make an incumbent with -- and we we don't release any of until all of the interviews have been conduct which is -- to him. And fair to the process not to let little bits. Not to let little bits and drabs coming out I think that's a fair thing for them to do answers. And over. And cameras installed inside account happens we're right. The black box. Is not as sophisticated as an airplane black box it's not even called black -- I guess officially it's called the recording device. And that's one of the things like everything else that should be looked at but I would be I don't think I'd be doing. Being responsible by picking one or another right now I think you have to wait for the full investigation. And then p.'s strongest you can be in making sure whatever they recommend gets done. There's -- resistance. Among the various industries to do the safety things that's another reason the NTSB. Is an independent. Sort of Walt off entity. Because like in. 3407. When we wanted more pilot training and we wanted them to get more training in simulators because the ice came on the wing. The industry -- pilots were with us -- the industry was opposed. You know -- I can -- -- even if I can describe the analogy I I think metro north. Ought to welcome any technology any and all technology. That enhances -- -- safety. Going to what happened in West Haven where a Foreman of metro north was killed. As a result of a failure. -- their practices and procedures. NTSB recommended. A new technology which then from north adopted. If they had. Adopted it before this accident. Robert gluten would be alive today so there's a posts -- from -- Richard. Six. I think on. That those things happen only after go do it. -- think it means it annuity as as mister Weiner explained the way these brakes work they're held up by. Air pressure very strong air pressure. And -- -- when you hear that noise when a train stops the sort of hissing noise. It's the releasing of air so the brakes are gradually applied. I think mr. Weiner would agree with this that six seconds from eighty miles an hour to zero is amazingly. Fast for. Troubling -- it dangerously fast and shows that something something was very very wrong. Did I -- maybe I didn't get your question it. Happened after the tree where they don't know they they don't quite know that we don't know the exact sequence. He spoke that -- -- which we don't know the exact sequence at this point. You know timeline like that is being will will be certainly part of our analysis. -- Thank you. Okay thank you everybody thank you. So -- militants the latest from the NTSB there in the investigation of that deadly plane -- she's -- train crash that happened yesterday morning. Four people were killed 74 people were injured when a metro north train was coming through the Bronx section of Manhattan as -- in New York. I'm coming right now the NTSB -- -- the train was traveling about 82 miles an hour when it approached a zone that is. Categorized as a thirty mile an hour zone now at this point the NTS pieces they have no reason to understand why exactly the train was traveling that fast -- simply the fact that the train was traveling. Nearly three times the speed. For what that -- was approved for some the other information that they have gather at this point. Is they are still looking to find out exactly if this was human or whether this was equipment failure and as we heard from the NTSB. They are saying at this point that they. Are still trying to gather information not only from the data event boxes as well but also gathered information from the engineer as we just heard there. They are conducting interviews with the engineer at this point along with the three other crew members. That were on board that train yesterday they are also sending surveillance video to Washington DC. For that video to be enhanced so NTS speaking get a closer look exactly what happened in those crucial seconds before that. Train crash. And as we just heard there that train traveling about 82 miles an hour. Six. Seconds. Before it came to a stop. And when it was recorded by that event data recovery. Device. The throttle and the air pressure breaks were both at zero and that is something that investigators are trying to take into consideration as they're trying to piece together exactly. Timeline and sequence of events that have happened. Is far as the scene itself right now all seven cars and a locomotive have been. Put back on rails and they are now being transported off to an area. Where investigators are taking a closer look to see if thinking going any more evidence or any more information. For what may have caused that accident. We also heard that there is a toxicology report that they are awaiting. From the conductor as well as that interview that we are waiting to hear what I conductor had said. Two investigators. We have a complete report right here on abcnews.com. And of course and new developments we will bring them to you for non Dan -- New York with this -- -- digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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