Tuesday night, an Amtrak train, Train #188, derailed in Philadelphia, killing
6 and injuring more than 140. The train was carrying approximately 238
passengers and 5 workers. Those injured were taken to Temple University
Hospital, Aria Health-Frankford, Albert Einstein Medical Center, and Hahnemann
University Hospital, with several still in critical condition.
The train, en route from Washington D.C. to New York had six passenger
cars, seven cars in total. Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire
Department, Jesse Wilson had this to say: “I've never seen anything
so devastating. They're in pretty bad shape. You can see that they're
completely, completely derailed from the track. They've been destroyed
completely. The aluminum shell has been destroyed and they've been
Passengers Report a Horrifying Scene
As the train was heading towards the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia,
it came upon a curve where the speed limit is approximately 50 mph. Passengers
reported hearing a loud boom sound at the moment the train derailed, then
shaking with smoke filling the cars.
Loose items began falling onto passengers’ heads, including suitcases
and chairs that would break loose from their screws. Then the people began
knocking into each other. One passenger reported two women were “catapulted.”
Emergency responders crawled into the overturned cars, desperately trying
to evacuate the over 200 passengers.
Investigation into the exact cause of the crash is still underway, but
the National Transportation Safety Board is looking at the angles of the
cars and wreckage and have recovered a “black box” to help
them retrace the steps up until the moment of derailment.
What causes train accidents?
Train derailments are the leading cause of most train accidents. Why do
trains derail? There are a variety of factors involved, such as mechanical
defect or equipment failure. The cars had been overturned or were lying
on their sides.
These are some of the common reasons why trains derail:
- Improperly maintained train tracks
- Crashes with other trains
- Undertrained train crew members
- Understaffed maintenance teams
- Lack of proper signage or broken signal lights
- Hazardous materials or obstructions on the train tracks
- Driver negligence, such as excessive speed
In the Philadelphia Amtrak case, with investigations still being conducted,
it is likely that because the curve advised a maximum speed of 50 mph,
that the operator may have been taking the turn too quickly to cause the
derailing. Yet, as of now, there is still too little information to go
by to make a final determination.
If you or someone you love was injured,
contact our Philadelphia injury lawyers at Shrager, Spivey & Sachs to obtain immediate legal counsel.