Amtrak driver Brandon Bostian, the engineer of the speeding train that crashed in Philadelphia, has said he can’t remember the deadly crash.
Brandon Bostian, 32, experienced concussion, 14 stitches in his head and more in his leg from the wreck, his lawyer Robert Goggin told ABC News.
At least eight people have died and dozens more were hurt in the crash.
An eighth body was recovered in the Amtrak rubble on May 14, fire officials said.
The train was going 106mph before derailing on a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.
Federal investigators don’t know why the train was travelling that fast.
Robert Goggin, who is speaking for Brandon Bostian because he hasn’t given a statement to law enforcement yet, said the driver remembers coming into the curve, trying to reduce the speed of the train and then getting knocked out. He doesn’t remember using the emergency brake.
Brandon Bostian is cooperating with police and consented to a blood test along with giving up his mobile phone. He claims not to have been drinking or doing drugs.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the engineer was “clearly reckless and irresponsible”.
“Part of the focus has to be, what was the engineer doing? Why are you travelling at that rate of speed?” Michael Nutter said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), however, was not as quick to blame Brandon Bostian. Accident investigators want to give Brandon Bostian some time to recover from shock before they start talking to him about the accident.
Officials said the accident could have been prevented if Positive Train Control, a safety mechanism, was implemented in the area.
Brandon Bostian worked for Amtrak as a conductor for nine years. He became an engineer in 2010. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia, killing at least seven people, was travelling at twice the speed limit.
The driver applied the emergency brakes when the train hit 106mph on a 50mph track, said the NTSB.
His efforts had only brought the speed down to 102mph when the deadly crash happened.
The speed was recorded in the so-called black box recovered from the wreckage.
Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB told reporters a speed control system in place along parts of that route along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor was not yet in place on that section.
He said: “We feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”
Amtrak Train 188 was going from Washington to New York when it derailed on May 12, leaving more 200 people injured.
The death toll rose from six to seven on May 13, as another body was found by the search and rescue team.
Only three victims have been publicly identified so far. Jim Gaines, a 48-year-old father of two and software architect for the Associated Press, was travelling home to New Jersey following a work conference in Washington DC. Justin Zemser, a-20 year-old Navy Midshipman, was on leave from the Naval Academy in Maryland, and was visiting family in New York. Wells Fargo senior vice-president Abid Gilani, the company confirmed.
One of the busiest stretches of passenger rail in the country, between Philadelphia and New York, is closed as officials continue to try to establish exactly what happened.
President Barack Obama said he was “shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the derailment”.
As emergency crews continued to dig through the wreckage, lawmakers in Washington debated the future of Amtrak’s budget, with one spending committee voting to slash their funding by almost a fifth.
Congress has only 18 more days before federal funding for transportation infrastructure expires, but the funding is likely to be temporarily extended.
Amtrak is a national publicly funded rail service, serving tens of millions of people every year.
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