'It was bodies everywhere': Amtrak crash witness

Authorities said the engineer apparently realized a switch was set wrong but could not prevent the fatal crash.
3:00 | 02/05/18

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Transcript for 'It was bodies everywhere': Amtrak crash witness
Next, to the deadly amtrak crash and what we have just learned tonight about the engineer a short time ago. Two dead, eight people still hospitalized after that crash in South Carolina. A passenger train slamming into a parked freight train in the middle of the night, sending passengers flying. ABC's senior transportation correspondent David Kerley is on the scene for us tonight. Reporter: Federal investigators say tonight the amtrak engineer sounded his horn, cut power, applied the breaks. But he couldn't stop this head-on collision. There were bodies everywhere. Seats came up off the floor. Reporter: The rail cars and the amtrak engine are now being removed, but investigators are more interested in the switch on the rail line just a couple of hundred yards back on the track. Rail crews for freight company csx apparently didn't follow policy, leaving the switch in the wrong position. Late Saturday or early Sunday, csx turned that switch and moved one of its freight trains from the mainline to a siding. But that switch was not flipped back to the main line. And when amtrak 91 arrived, heading south to Miami, it was diverted onto that same side track, and in less than 700 feet, slammed into the parked freight train at more than 50 miles an hour. That switch should have been flipped back to the main line to save this amtrak train. Well, I'll put it this way. That switch should have been line, so that amtrak could have continued southbound as planned. Yet another awful scene involving an amtrak train. David Kerley with us tonight. And we just learned about another problem that night, that the track's signaling system, its system of traffic lights, was turned off? Reporter: Yes. In a tragic irony, csx actually took the system down to install the mandated positive train control, the safety system that if it had been working, David, would have prevented this crash. All right, David Kerley on the scene for us. Thank you. We're also following a storm

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

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