NTSB: Train Speed Exceeded 100 mph Before Crash

The NTSB has confirmed the Amtrak train that derailed last night was travelling in excess of 100 mph before the accident.
8:43 | 05/13/15

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Transcript for NTSB: Train Speed Exceeded 100 mph Before Crash
The NTSB on this scene investigating the deadly Amtrak train accident. New revelations of this speed of the train as it T railed. Leaving seven dead as of this moment in eight still in critical condition. Authorities fear more dead passengers could be found as well hello anti Hernandez in New York ABC's Karen Travers he's in Philadelphia. And can fill us in on the very latest hello Karen. At high speed appears to be a factor just moments ago the NTSB said that Amtrak train 188 was traveling. Faster than 100 miles per hour last night just before it ran out. Passengers last night described a scene of chaos and today that tracks at the crash scene are mangled. Power lines are down. Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter said it is incredible to him that so many people about 200 were able to walk away. At least seven jagged dozens injured and so many questions. Investigators have been at the Amtrak crash scene in northeast Philadelphia all day sifting through mangled metal and debris. Our purpose for being here. On site is to collect nonperishable. Evidence the information that won't go away with the passage of time what was the train speed what was the speed limit on that curve that's part of our investigation. The NTSB said preliminary data shows the train was traveling faster than 100 miles per hour before it derailed. Officials recovered the trains equivalent of a black box and it's being analyzed by Amtrak officials for clues. ABC news has learned engineer received treatment for an injury and is interviewed today by local and federal officials. The tragic accident happened just before 9:30 PM last night. Minutes after Amtrak train when he he left Philadelphia's thirtieth street station. It was in route from Washington DC to New York traveling on them the easiest train line in the country. I don't like a big. All seven cars Clusty engine broke off the track. The trains tilted over enrolled Amtrak says there were 238 passengers and five crew members on board. Among the fatalities twenty year old Justin exams are. A midshipman at the US naval academy in Annapolis. And 48 year old Jim Gaines who worked for the Associated Press. More than 200 passengers were treated at local hospitals. It is incredible. That's so many people walked away from that scene last night and I don't know how that happened but for the grace of god. Hi there are still people who are unaccounted for and Philadelphia's mayor said that they haven't been able to completely match the passenger manifests given to them by Amtrak with the information they have local hospitals. That may mean that some of the passengers who were ticketed does dean get on the train last night or haven't checked in yet with authorities tied. I Karen how this accident affected Amtrak service today. The severe disruptions tie you cannot travel from Philadelphia to New York City right now on Amtrak that part of the stretch of rail is. Completely shut down as investigators are on the scene. They're there would limited service today in Washington DC and Philadelphia but of course that word many cancellations. And some travel delays and disruptions. This is the busiest stretch of Amtrak in the entire country on any given day between Washington embossed in 2200. Trains are passing. Officials say this is going to be a very thorough investigation and judging by how the crash scene of today tie it may be awhile before travelers back to court. Thank you Karen for that information ABC's Karen Travers joining us from Philadelphia. And witness from Chicago the president of the National Safety Council and former chairman of the NTSB Deborah herdsman hello Debra. The anti speak confirming today the train was traveling over 100 miles per hour on a curve that how to limit. A fifty miles per hour so happens and they like this happen. You know unfortunately we've seen us all to often. When we look at the speeds that trains are traveling. You really have limitations based on that track the class of the track. And particularly things like curbs and any work that's being done it's gotta keep those speeds at a certain level just like we do on a highway. You've got speed limits and they have to be complied with Irsay theories sense. While we're speaking the NTSB is examining that trains block box what else full investigators be looking at in that box we know this speed was an axis of what it should have been. What else is key information here. In other going to be looking at key inputs that would be made by a locomotive engineer or any telltale signs that there were problems. They'll be looking to determine what the throttle position was whether ways. You know accelerating decelerating if they were breaking. If there was an emergency braking operation or a normal braking operation or even a brakes were applied at all. Those black boxes can tell them a lot of information about how the train was handled up until the derailment. Now we know the train's engineer is being questioned by the NTSB does he have to fully cooperate or can he refused for their self incrimination. And he certainly has that right she refused to answer any questions. But in NTSB investigation is not a criminal investigation it really isn't safety. Investigation to try to find out what happened to prevent something from happening in the future. They learn from tragedies like this to make sure that other railroads not just Amtrak. Have an operative I understand what happened need to change policies procedures or technology. Mister Wellman has spawned a greater conversation about our nation's rail infrastructure New Jersey senator Bob Menendez had this. To say earlier. Tonight I travel and Turco as I said virtually every week. Traveled the excel which is supposed to be our high speed rail. It's like shake rattle and roll. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have traveled in other countries in the world like Japan. And they have a bullet train for which you virtually. Cannot feel anything while your on the train going. In speeds far in excess. Of what we call ice be threat. Is this country's rail system considered antiquated and how does that affect passenger safety. You know I would say it's very interesting when it comes to. Our rail system in this country. Our freight rail system is one of the best in the world's. And the in the world it's privately funded these companies invest in their own track they maintain it. And they move a great deal of goods across the nation. But our passenger rail system. Absolutely. As a different level of investment compared to other industrialized nations in Europe and Japan. The US has not invested in passenger rail as a great intermodal option. What can the government do to make sure either accidents like this don't happen again or passengers are more safe as they're called for example for seatbelts on trains we hear about all these rig injuries. And worse in this accident in is that's coming keep. Are calling for. You know they often look at survival factors with respect to a crash in certainly restraints. Like seat belts could be something to consider but I think you've got to look at the whole. Environment when it comes to a trip comes through a train it's a very different environment. You don't have the luggage and coffee pots and other things. Restraint you've gotta restrain more than just the passengers. If you're looking for protecting passenger compartment. But at the end of the day you want to prevent the event from occurring in the first place whether it's at derailment or collision. And congress has called on the railroads to implement positive train control by the end of 2015. Positive train control can prevent over speed accidents like this line. Well we have very little time left to make any significant progress in that department but hopefully we are on our way. Ever herdsman thank you so much for joining us. And can keep up with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news happened starring this story for exclusive updates on the go up high Hernandez in New York.

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

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