Amtrak Train Derailment: New Crash Details Emerge

The NTSB confirmed the northeast regional was traveling in excess of 100 mph before the accident.
7:11 | 05/14/15

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Transcript for Amtrak Train Derailment: New Crash Details Emerge
Thanks for joining us. Late-breaking developments tonight about the engineer of that amtrak train being questioned by authorities about the deadly Dee rarailment in Philadelphia. Investigators now focusing on speed. Did the engineer make a crucial mistake right before the moment of impact? His camp speaks out exclusively to us tonight with ABC's David Wright on the scene of the amtrak tragedy. Reporter: This is what's left of northeast regional amtrak 188. Seven cars tangled on the tracks, killing at least seven people, injuring hundreds more. Even as rescue workers continue to search for survivors, investigators are already trying to untangle this mess themselves. Only now are they starting to put the pieces together. Tonight we learn the name of the engineer, 32-year-old Brandon bastion of queens, new York. An amtrak engineer for the past five years. Police and federal investigators are already questioning him. The question top most on their minds, how come the train clocked 106 miles per hour, more than double the speed limit? We're saying that the speed limit through the curve is 50 miles per hour. Reporter: Was it human error or a technical failure of some sort? The experts say there has to be some explanation. Tonight speaking exclusively by telephone with ABC's David curly, the attorney representing the engineer said police grilled his client for six hours today, but his client has no recollection of the crash. He remembers driving the train. He remembers going through that area generally. Has absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual. The next thing he recalls is being thrown around, coming to, finding his tag, getting his cell phone and dialling 1.91 Reporter: For the 238 passengers inside amtrak 188, this was a routine trip that turned into a nightmare. The moment of impact caught on nearby surveillance cameras that. Flash of light there and there as the hurtling train crashed to a stop at port Richmond. Did it feel like the train hit something? No, it didn't feel like the train hit anything. It feeled like someone slammed on the brakes. And then the train started really shaking left to right a lot. Reporter: Passengers thrown from their seats, luggage and laptops turned into projectiles. Entire train cars toppled like toys. Basically the train tilted over and rolled. The passengers knew they had to get out. But climbing out the window meant venturing onto live train tracks. Sparks flying in the smoldering wreckage. Keep calling, okay? Crawl forward, sir. Reporter: Outside, stunned silence. The shock T theragedy sinking in. It happened in seconds. Reporter: 9:28 the first American call went out. We're going to classify this as a mass casualty incident. One train looks like it's completely in pieces. I heard like a big bang. Reporter: The walking wounded bloody and dazed, some climbing out of the emergency exit, others through the roof of the train. Survivors stumbling to safety. Pastor joey frajanik heard the commotion. His church is less than a mile away from the crash site. We were home right around the corner just relaxing. All of a sudden started to hear choppers, sirens. People were texting us. So we literally ran out of the house. My wife was in her sandals. And we got in the car, shot out to the parking lot over by Walmart. We thought we could just deliver water and Gatorade and towels. Reporter: Relief supplies for the first responders and an impromptu welcome wagon for survivors. We didn't want to get in anybody's way. It wasn't about us. We literally were just delivering and also just giving stuff to police officers and firemen. Really anybody who needed something. Reporter: Emergency medical particular anything Danielle Thor helped one woman who had been trapped upside down inside one of the rail cars for half an hour. Philadelphia fire was just working their way towards it. But as soon as they got her, they got her into a vehicle and straight to us to take care of her. She was hanging upside down? Yes. She said she was hanging tangled in bars from the train. Reporter: Even for people who suffered minor scrapes or bruises or broken bones, even for people who walked away without a scratch, some passengers were simply beyond help, mostly because the trauma to their heads or their chest was too severe to save them. Their stories are heart-ren muching. Among them Justin zem ser, two months past his 20th birthday. His mom's pride and joy. Will he was his high school valedictorian and was just finishing up a second year of mid shipman at the United States naval academy. Reporter: He played football for Navy, wide receiver. Was headed home to rockaway beach at the end of school year. His journey home ended here. 39-year-old Rachel Jacobs had texted her husband at 8:45 last night, telling him she had just caught the train. It was the last message he'll ever get from her. She was CEO of a Philadelphia tech start-up, commuting from her home in New York. 49-year-old Jim Gaines worked for the associated press doing digital video. Voted a.p.'s geek of the month. Survived by his wife and his two teenage children. Tonight Wells Fargo bank confirmed one of its senior vice presidents, ibid Gilani, is also among the dead. There are others unaccounted for. Too. Tonight bob gild ersleeve Sr. Passed out fliers with a picture of his son bob Jr. Bobby is 6'4", blond hair, beautiful blue eyes. Reporter: The number of deaths is likely to climb. The locomotive for amtrak 1888 W brand-new, barely a year old. The tracks were inspected just yesterday. The national transportation safety board is collecting evidence from this box, the event data recorder, telling the story of too much speed. The rail lines north of Philadelphia are straight. The speed limit 70 miles per hour. But approaching the Frankford neighborhood there's a left corner where the speed cuts to 50 miles per hour. But when amtrak 188 left 30th street station at 9:10 and reached Frankford 11 minutes later, it's going 106. By the time the engineer tripped the emergency brakes it was too late. Bastion's attorney tells ABC news tonight the engineer has a concussion. He was pretty beat up. He's got 14 staples in his head. Several stitches in his leg. He has one leg, the other leg immobilized with a knee problem. And what he looked was exhausted. Reporter: The attorney says police have asked for his client's blood and his phone, presumably to see if he was impaired or distracted at the time of the crash. The attorney said his client consented to both. Technologies exists for a fail safe to slow down even if the operator doesn't hit the brakes soon enough. Positive train control is that backup redundant system that will step in and take over and protect all of the passengers. Reporter: How can we prevent this from ever happening again? We won't know until we have all the answers. And federal investigators say that will take time. I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in Philadelphia.

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

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