NTSB removes rail union from investigation into deadly Metro-North train derailment

metro north train derailment
After a union official said Tuesday that the engineer operating a derailed train was dozing before the fatal crash, the National Transportation Safety Board removed the rail union from the investigation.
Credit: Reuters

After a union official said Tuesday that the engineer operating the derailed Metro-North train was dozing before the fatal crash, the National Transportation Safety Board removed the rail union from the investigation.

During a press conference Tuesday, general chairman of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees Anthony Bottalico said the train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, had nodded off moments before the derailment on a 30 mph curve near the Hudson Line’s Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx.

preliminary investigation by the NTSB revealed the train was going 82 mph before entering the curve. 

“He basically nodded,” Bottalico  said. “He had the equivalent of what we all have when we drive a car — that is, you sometimes have a momentary nod.”

NTSB member Earl Weener said Tuesday there’s “every indication” Rockefeller had time to get enough sleep before his shift, but wouldn’t speculate if human error was to blame.

“He caught himself, but he caught himself too late,” the union head said. “He put the train in emergency, but that was six seconds prior to derailment.”

Four died and dozens were injured when the train derailed.

Under NTSB rules, parties involved in investigations are required to maintain confidentiality. The union, and other organizations involved, agreed to not reveal or comment on investigative information, according to the NTSB.

After the press conference, the NTSB removed the union from the investigation.

“While we value the technical expertise that groups like ACRE can provide during the course of an investigation, it is counterproductive when an organization breaches the party agreement and publicly interprets or comments on investigation information,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. “Our rules exist to avoid the prospect of any party to an NTSB investigation offering its slant on the circumstances of the accident.”

When reached by phone Wednesday, the union said it would not comment on its removal so long as there’s an ongoing investigation.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…