Investigators look into distraction as cause of Amtrak train derailment

Authorities are looking into the possibility the train's engineer was distracted by his cellphone or another person in the locomotive at the time of the deadly accident in Washington state.
1:33 | 12/20/17

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Transcript for Investigators look into distraction as cause of Amtrak train derailment
We're learning new details about what may have led to that deadly train derailment. Investigators are trying to determine whether the engineer was distracted by a cell phone or possibly someone else in the car with him. ABC's Clayton Sandell is in Dupont, Washington, with the latest for us. Good morning, Clayton. Reporter: Good morning, Paula. They have been working nonstop overnight here to clear this scene and re-open this major interstate. But it is painstaking work and may be shut down for several more days. This morning emergency crews are using cranes to carefully remove sections of amtrak 501. Authorities are investigating why the train on its inaugural voyage from Seattle to Portland was going 80 miles per hour killing three passengers including Zack Willhoite and Jim Hamre, both train aficionados. It's protocol for us to look at all of the cell phone records of all the crew members whenever there is an accident of this type. Reporter: The NTSB is also asking about another person in the locomotive with the engineer, a conductor getting familiar with the new route. Now, technology that might have automatically slowed this train down and prevented this accident was installed here but it wasn't activated. It's called positive train technology. It was supposed to be in place nationwide by 2015 but the NTSB says congress has delayed that deadline and now up to the end of 2018. Such an unfortunate angle to the story. Thanks for your reporting.

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

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