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May 13, 2015

Death and Mass Injury in Devastating Amtrak Crash in Philly

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Close to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12th, an Amtrak train carrying five crew members and 238 passengers from Washington D.C. to New York suddenly flew off the tracks in the Frankford Junction in Philadelphia. The derailment caused all seven passenger cars to leave the track, causing a devastating wreck. When Philly emergency crews arrived on the scene, they found numerous train cars toppled and rolled over and immediately went to work finding and helping the passengers. Some passengers were found under the train and many were trapped in train cars and had to be cut out.

Emergency personnel reported five passengers dead at the scene. Another individual who was transported to Temple University Hospital died from their injuries overnight, bringing the death toll to six. However, current reports indicate that one more train car carrying passengers has yet to be lifted and officials fear that they will find more deceased individuals when a crane finally lifts the car. Furthermore, several passengers have been reported missing.

In addition to the six tragic deaths, emergency personnel transported over 200 other individuals to hospitals around Philly for treatment for a variety of injuries. Eight of those passengers have been listed in critical condition. Crews have already brought in heavy equipment to begin the long process of cleaning up the wreckage while thousands of Philly residents try to find alternate commute routes.

What could have caused this deadly crash?

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) rushed to the scene Wednesday morning to begin trying to figure out what exactly caused this tragedy. Modern Amtrak trains do not just suddenly jump the tracks on their own, so investigation teams are looking into many possibilities for causes. They reported they are reviewing the following:

  • The train’s event recorders
  • The forward facing camera from the train
  • The actions of the conductor and train engineer, who were both well enough following the crash to be questioned
  • Possible hazardous conditions or maintenance issues on the track
  • Any potential mechanical defects or malfunctions of the train
  • Actions of any of the train’s crew

Though investigators stated they may take months to make a final cause determination, early reports from officials indicate they are closely examining speed as a factor in the crash due to the angle in which the train derailed. The particular area of the track where the crash occurred usually has a restriction on speed due to curves, so if the conductor failed to slow down, that could be a main cause of the train crash.

Anyone who suffered injury or tragically lost a loved one in this devastating crash will likely have the legal right to receive substantial compensation from Amtrak. Do not hesitate to call attorney Gabriel Levin at The Levin Firm in Philly at 215-825-5183 for help.

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