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


Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…


Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…


Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…


Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'


Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.


'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version


Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.


MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind


Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.


This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…


This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…


Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.


5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.