An Amtrak train originating from the city of New York was involved in a head-on collision with a parked freight train on Sunday that resulted in the deaths of two crew members and injuries to more than 100 others. Officials connected to the railroad are now saying the train was given the okay to continue down the deadly path before the crash.
What was not known at the time was that a switch on the track was in the wrong position and would cause the train to drive directly into a CSX train. Officials report that 136 passengers and 9 crew members were on the train when it crashed.
Amtrak has released a statement explaining that CSX maintains the subdivision of the track where the accident took place. This includes all signal systems and dispatch of trains. At the time of the accident, signals were not operational but the train from Amtrak had received verbal clearance to proceed.
Amtrak train 91 started its journey at the Penn Station in New York on Saturday in route to Miami. The crash took place at 2:35 A.M. 10 miles south of Columbia, South Carolina.
Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster says the CSX freight train was stationary on a loading track located beside the main track when a switch that was in the incorrect position rerouted the Amtrak train onto a collision course with the freight train. The Amtrak train was traveling at 59 MPH upon impact with the freight train.
Officials presiding over the investigation say that figuring out why that switch was in the particular alignment that it was is paramount to their efforts.
The resulting impact from the crash caused the engine to derail along with passenger cars from the train. One source close to the matter said that the Amtrak train was totally unrecognizable following the accident.
Michael Kempf, 56, and Michael Cella, 36, the two Amtrak employees to lose their lives in the accident were both In the train’s engine when the two trains crashed. Three other individuals were hospitalized with serious injuries while the majority of those injured were minor in nature.
United States President Donald Trump was briefed on the train collision and immediately expressed his condolences to the victims on Twitter. President Trump also took the time to thank first responders for the valuable service they perform.