A massive docket of approximately 2,200 pages dumped online Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board from their investigation into Amtrak #188 derailment includes two interviews by officials with Brandon Bostian, the engineer who was driving the doomed train before it crashed in Philadelphia in May 2015.
“A fairly uneventful trip,” is how Bostian described the train’s trek from Washington D.C. through to Philly in an interview with investigators conducted on May 15 — three days after the crash, while Bostian in his own words still felt “groggy” from a concussion sustained during the crash.
“I don’ t remember anything particularly out of the ordinary,” Bostian told investigators.
The National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) posted the interviews online online Monday as part of a docket that includes factual materials that investigators and regulators found during their investigation of the crash that killed eight and injured more than 200.
The Amtrak train accelerated to 106 miles per hour in a 50 mile-per-hour speed limit zone at the curve in the tracks between Port Richmond and Kensington.
“Unfortunately, the last memory I have on the way back is approaching and passing the platforms in North Philadelphia,” Bostian told investigators. “I remember turning on the bell, and the next thing that I remember is when I came to my senses I was standing up in the locomotive cab after the accident.I got my cellphone out of my bag. I turned it on.”
Philadelphia police took a blood sample from Bostian at the crash scene while he was being treated by first responders for a concussion, a cut to his left knee, a sprain to his right knee and cuts on both shins, he said in his interview.
After Bostian was discharged from the hospital, police detained him at a station “for many hours” until he retained counsel, he said in the interview.
The NTSB board will meet in the spring to vote on determining the “probable cause” of the derailment. NTSB officials have already indicated thatthe train derailment was not caused by track, signal, or train car problems, and have said Bostian was not using his phone or intoxicated at the time of the crash.
One factor may have been “situational awareness” — meaning that Bostian simply forgot where he was and forgot to slow the train down.
But Bostian in his interview told investigators he was “pretty comfortable” with the Philadelphia area, and that he had worked on the route he was traveling that night five times a week for approximately three years.
Prior to the derailment, a SEPTA train on nearby tracks was struck by a projectile. But Bostian did not recall the Amtrak train being hit by anything.
Another conductor said that he heard Bostian radio the train’s windshield had just been struck by a projectile prior to the derailment, the Inquirer reported.
In an eerie coincidence, an Amtrak train traveling through Philadelphia today also had a window partly broken after it was hit by a projectile.
Read the interviews, posted along with all other documents on NTSB.gov.
The release of these files by the NTSB indicates the conclusion of the fact-finding phase of the NTSB investigation. This factual material will be evaluated by the NTSB board at a spring meeting.