Black box recorder found in New Jersey train crash

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2016 3:35 AM

(Reuters) - Investigators have found the black box recorder aboard a commuter train that crashed into a station in Hoboken, New Jersey, killing one person and injuring 114, a U.S. safety spokesman said on Friday.

The event recorder was removed Thursday evening from the locomotive at the rear of the NJ Transit train that slammed into the terminal building during the morning rush hour, the spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Investigators have been unable to get to the other recorder in the train's front car because of debris, he said.

"Right now there are some challenges to the investigation with respect to accessing the wreckage," the spokesman said.

The recorder holds data that includes the train's speed, throttle position and use of brakes.

Train #1614, originating from Spring Valley, New York, was at the end of its hour-long southward journey when it hit the terminal. The crash toppled support columns, and witnesses described a scene of terror and chaos.

NJ Transit train service in and out of the Hoboken terminal, one of the busiest transit hubs in the New York area, will be suspended on Friday.

NTSB Vice Chair Bell Dinh-Zarr said at a news conference the investigation was expected to take seven to 10 days.

The crash killed a 34-year-old Hoboken woman, the New Jersey medical examiner's office said. Another 114 people were injured, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told CNN.

The train's engineer was injured and taken to a hospital. He was later released, officials said, without providing details.

News reports identified him as Thomas Gallagher, citing unnamed sources, and said he was cooperating with investigators.

In 2011, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey train crashed at the Hoboken station, injuring more than 30 people. An NTSB investigation determined the accident was caused mainly by excessive speed.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday it was obvious the train came into the station too fast, but it was unclear why.

It was too early to say whether an anti-collision system known as positive train control (PTC) could have prevented the crash, he said.

PTC is designed to halt a train if the driver misses a stop signal, and advocates cite it for helping to combat human error.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jeffrey Benkoe)