Latest on Amtrak crash: Feds not sure if windshield was hit

AP News
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Posted: May 18, 2015 5:12 PM
Latest on Amtrak crash: Feds not sure if windshield was hit

5:10 p.m.

Federal investigators say they aren't sure anything struck the windshield of an Amtrak train involved in last week's deadly derailment in Philadelphia.

An FBI spokesman says agents performed forensic work on the locomotive Monday, days after the May 12 derailment that killed 8 people and injured dozens.

The FBI says it has ruled out that the windshield was struck by a firearm but is still investigating whether the train was hit by another object.

The National Transportation Safety Board says an assistant conductor told investigators she heard the Amtrak engineer talking to a regional rail train engineer and both said their trains had been hit.

Investigators say dispatch tapes didn't have any communication from the Amtrak engineer reporting that his train had been struck.

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4:30 p.m.

Federal investigators say they're months away from determining the probable cause of a deadly Amtrak train derailment last week in Philadelphia.

The National Transportation Safety Board says any other reports on the crash that killed 8 people and injured dozens are "pure speculation."

Investigators have said the train was traveling over 100 mph just before it entered a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

The FBI has been called in to investigate whether the locomotive's windshield was hit by an object before the derailment.

Amtrak resumed service Monday between Philadelphia and New York City.

Four passengers and a train conductor sued Amtrak over the crash Monday. The railroad has said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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3:55 p.m.

One of the conductors aboard the Amtrak train that derailed last week in Philadelphia has sued the rail carrier.

Emilio Fonseca, of Kearny, New Jersey, filed the lawsuit Monday in Newark. It seeks unspecified damages.

The complaint accuses Amtrak of "negligence and carelessness" in the May 12 derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200.

Fonseca's attorney, Bruce Nagel, says he suffered broken bones and head trauma and is still hospitalized in Philadelphia.

The Amtrak train from Washington to New York derailed as it passed through Philadelphia. Investigators have said the train was traveling over 100 mph just before it entered a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

Four passengers have also sued Amtrak, which has said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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3:45 p.m.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in New Jersey at the funeral of a food safety executive killed in the Amtrak train derailment last week.

Robert Gildersleeve's children read letters that they had written to him as mourners remembered his humor and love for his family.

NJ.com reports (http://bit.ly/1EXXs7E) that 16-year-old daughter Ryan Gildersleeve says that she loved her father "more than words" and that she felt lucky to have traveled the world with him.

His 13-year-old son, Marc, says that writing the letter was very emotional for him but that it was easy to remember the memories they made together.

Gildersleeve worked for Ecolab for 22 years and lived near Baltimore. He formerly lived in New Jersey.

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1:35 p.m.

President Barack Obama has paused in Philadelphia to thank the city and its rescue workers for their response to the Amtrak derailment.

Obama arrived aboard Air Force One and stopped briefly to talk and shake hands with Mayor Michael Nutter and other city officials at Philadelphia International Airport. He then boarded a Marine helicopter bound for Camden, New Jersey, where he planned to make a speech about improving local policing.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says the visit was planned to thank fire, police and other emergency officials for their quick action to save lives and treat the wounded after last week's fatal train wreck.

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1:25 p.m.

Friends and relatives are remembering a New York City real estate executive's caring, ebullient spirit as they mourn her death in last week's Amtrak crash.

Laura Finamore's funeral was being held Monday at a church in Queens. The 47-year-old was one of eight people killed when a Washington-to-New York Amtrak train derailed Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

Friend Maria Pitsironis tells WCBS-AM (http://cbsloc.al/1Pu7kjC) Finamore was "full of love" and "very expressive in her words and her motions."

Finamore's family said in a statement her smile could "light up a room" and called her laughter infectious. They say she was always there for others who needed her.

Finamore was a managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm. She graduated from George Washington University.

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11 a.m.

Two cousins from Spain, a New York City advertising executive and a New Jersey woman are among passengers suing over injuries from last week's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia.

Lawyers Robert Mongeluzzi and Thomas Kline blame the engineer for excessive speed and Amtrak for failing to have a system in place to override human error.

The injured plaintiffs include 64-year-old Felicidad Redondo Iban, who lawyers say had her right arm nearly severed, and her cousin 55-year-old Maria Jesus Redondo Iban, whose injuries they say include lacerations, bruises and post-traumatic stress.

The other plaintiffs announced Monday include ad executive Daniel Armyn, who had three broken ribs, lost teeth and tore ligaments in his knee, and Amy Miller of Princeton, who suffered a concussion and back injuries.

Amtrak has said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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7 a.m.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the government is looking to take additional steps, beyond the activation of the automatic train control systems for the Northeast Corridor to ensure safe travel.

Interviewed Monday on MSNBC, Foxx said the government aims to make sure that "intercity travel sets a high bar for safety."

Foxx said his agency is looking into the entire rail system and isn't done yet.

He noted that the National Transportation Safety Board is the lead federal agency on investigating what caused last Tuesday's deadly derailment that killed eight and injured more than 200 and said once it's know what caused the accident, you can expect additional corrective measures to be taken.

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6:45 a.m.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter kept his promise of being on hand when Amtrak service resumed after the derailment that killed eight passengers and injured more than 200.

Nutter was at 30th Street Station Monday morning as service resumed between Philadelphia and New York City just after 6 a.m.

Nutter had told Amtrak's president and board chairman that he'd be at 30th Street whenever service resumed.

Nutter hugged the first passenger in line, Mary Schaheen. He told her and others in line that he was out at the curve on Sunday and that the repairs look beautiful.

He says getting trains back is credit to Amtrak's crews who "worked diligently but have also been very, very mindful of the tragedy last week."

"I just wanted to be here to see those first passengers, give them an additional sense of confidence about what has happened here, the relationship between the City of Philadelphia and Amtrak — which is tremendously strong — and just make sure that everyone gets off in a positive way leaving Philadelphia today," Nutter said.

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6:30 a.m.

Regional commuter rail service has resumed along the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Trenton Line after it was halted last week because of the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

Trains began rolling Monday with delays because of continued repairs at Frankford Junction.

SEPTA says trains headed to Trenton will not stop at North Philadelphia, Bridesburg and Tacony stations. SEPTA trains headed toward Philadelphia will not stop at North Philadelphia Station.

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6:15 a.m.

Mary Schaheen of Philadelphia was among passengers waiting to board a train to New York City, and was confident in Amtrak's ability to provide a safe ride.

Schaheen said she takes the train once a week or every other week, and on Monday was headed to the UBS Life Sciences conference and didn't want to miss it.

"I'm confident Amtrak wouldn't put us back on route unless they thought it was safe to put us back on route," she said. "I'm sure they have all the resources to have worked through it in the days since this tragedy

"I, like a lot of other people, have to get to New York."

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6:10 a.m.

Passenger trains are again rolling between Philadelphia and New York City.

Amtrak restored full service on its busy Northeast Corridor early Monday when a train headed south from New York City's Penn Station and another headed north from Philadelphia.

Amtrak vowed to have safer trains and tracks while investigators work to determine the cause of Tuesday night's derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight passengers and injured more than 200.

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5:55 a.m.

Amtrak has restored full service on its busy Northeast Corridor for the first time since last week's derailment killed eight passengers and injured more than 200.

The first train to head south departed New York City's Penn Station at about 5:30 a.m. Monday.

Another train that was due to leave Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. is delayed.

Amtrak officials had said all trains rolling between Washington to Boston are in "complete compliance" with federal safety orders following the derailment.