NTSB Expert Describes What Is Known About Philadelphia Amtrak Derailment

Deborah Hersman discusses how NTSB investigators will try to determine cause of this deadly disaster.
2:27 | 05/13/15

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Transcript for NTSB Expert Describes What Is Known About Philadelphia Amtrak Derailment
more from Deborah Hersman. The former chair of the ntsb. Now president of the national safety council. Deborah, tell us what this go to team, the ntsb go to team will do right now. The daylight is really helpful for them. They'll be securing the scene, gathering any perishable evidence and doing documentation. Key to the team will be grabbing those recorders right away. They've got event recorders and also video recorders on many trains and so they'll be looking at those very closely. What can they learn from those black boxes? So the black boxes will tell them things like speed, throttle position, braking, but also there are often inward and outward facing video cameras that will tell them a lot of information about the track conditions and the environmental conditions and they will be looking at every train that came through earlier to see if they had any trouble reports coming through that same section of track. As David said there have been some concern, there has been some concern about these tracks needing a lot of repairs. You know, I will tell you our infrastructure when it comes to transportation is critical. Whether it's highways or rails or our airports, we have to invest in our infrastructure to make sure that it's in good repair and that it's going to last us. How about the possibility of human error? What's it going to take to rule that in or out? Well, they'll be looking very closely at the human, the machine and the environment and so those recorders will tell them about the operating conditions at the time. But they'll also be looking to interview those crew members, particularly the locomotive engineer who is gem alone in the cab operating -- they'll want to talk to that person as soon as possible. Okay, Deborah Hersman, thanks very much. The FBI also on the scene this morning, homeland security involved, as well. Let's go to Pierre Thomas for more on that. Any indication, Pierre, of foul play? Reporter: Not so far, George. Transportation investigators are the lead but the FBI has sent agents to the scene and stands ready to assist as needed. Sorts say there's no evidence of foul play and looks like an accident but admit it's too early to know what happened. Given the scale of the derailment and loss of life authorities want to know what this is as quickly as possible. Sources say it's routine for the FBI to be at a transportation disaster, but there's a sense of urgency to find out the basics of what caused this terrible incident. George. So much more work to be done. Pierre, thanks very much.

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

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