8th victim pulled from Amtrak wreckage
PHILADELPHIA – What was Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian thinking when his speeding train careened off the rails in Philadelphia, killing eight and sending over 200 to the hospital?
He can’t say.
That’s what Bostian’s lawyer told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, saying his client “has absolutely no recollection whatsoever” after losing consciousness in the crash Tuesday night.
“He remembers coming into the curve (and) attempting to reduce speed,” attorney Robert Goggin said. “… The last thing he recalls is coming to, looking for his bag, getting his cell phone, turning it on and calling 911.”
Initial data show the train barreled into a curve at about 106 mph, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said. That’s more than twice the 50-mph speed limit for the curve, and above the 80-mph limit immediately before it.
Investigators haven’t determined whether the train’s speed was due to human or mechanical error. But they may not get much more insight anytime soon from the 32-year-old Bostian, who has 15 staples in his head, stitches in one leg and his other leg immobilized, according to his lawyer.
The engineer can’t recall engaging the emergency brake, even though Sumwalt has said he did so “just moments” before the train derailed. Goggin thinks his client’s memories may returns as he recovers from a concussion.
Goggin insisted his client hadn’t been talking or texting on his phone before he made the 911 call. Nor did he have other notable accidents or mishaps. And his lawyer said Bostian voluntarily took a blood test and there was “no drinking, no drugs, no medical conditions. Nothing.”
How much of this and more has he told authorities? Goggin says his client, who will talk with investigators “when they ask,” already told them “everything he knew. He cooperated fully.”
Mayor Michael Nutter said Thursday the engineer did “a pretty short interview (then) indicated that he didn’t want” to talk more. The mayor noted Bostian survived after his engine car “tumbled over and over” and that he doesn’t have to offer more information right away.
“He doesn’t have to be interviewed if he doesn’t want to at this particular stage,” Nutter said. “That’s kind of how the system works.”
8th body pulled from the wreckage
The train, which was on time on its trip Washington to New York, was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members when it crashed at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Survivors recalled an otherwise sleepy, mundane ride devolving into chaos as cars tilted and toppled, sending most everything — from luggage to laptops, from phones to people — flying.
They include Associated Press video software architect Jim Gaines, U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Justin Zemser and Derrick Griffith, a dean of student affairs for City University of New York Medgar Evers College.
The latest fatality is a person pulled from the wreckage of the first car Thursday morning. City Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said a call came in around 8 a.m. “to bring back our cadaver dog,” and after that “we were able to find another passenger in the wreckage.” That body was taken to the medical examiner’s office.
With that discovery, Nutter said all 243 people thought to have been on the train are accounted for.