Metro-North train that crashed on Sunday in New York City was going 82 mph in a 30 mph zone when it ran off the rails, investigators have said.
Four people were killed and more than 60 injured in New York’s Bronx borough.
The Metro-North train from Poughkeepsie to New York City crashed about 07:20 local time on a curve.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating whether a mechanical failure or human error caused the train’s high speed.
The train appeared to have been travelling over the speed limit even before it thundered into the curve where it crashed – the speed limit on the track approaching the curve is 70 mph, NTSB board member Earl Weener said on Monday.
He said the train had made nine stops prior to the derailment, and officials had not yet uncovered any brake problems.
Metro-North train that crashed in New York City was going 82 mph in a 30 mph zone when it ran off the rails
Earl Weener said preliminary data from the train’s event recorders indicated the train’s brakes became fully engaged just five seconds before the locomotive came to a complete stop after the crash.
In addition, he said the locomotive’s throttle went to idle six seconds before the train came to a stop.
Authorities continue to question the train’s engineer and three other crew members, and planned to transport the locomotive to a secure facility for further examination.
Officials were examining the engineer’s mobile phone – a standard procedure, Earl Weener said.
The engineer and assistant conductor were both injured in the crash.
Authorities also obtained surveillance video of the derailment from a nearby bridge, but the picture was of low quality, he added.
Officials have identified the deceased as Donna Smith, 54, James Lovell, 58, James Ferrari, 59, and Ahn Kisook, 35. Three of the dead were found outside the train, and one was found inside.
Of the 150 or so who were on board, 11 remain critically injured.
One man suffered a spinal cord injury that could leave him paralyzed from the neck down, a doctor told CNN.
At least four people have been killed and 63 injured in a passenger train crash in the Bronx area of New York City.
Eleven of the injured are believed to be in a critical condition in hospital.
The Metro-North train’s locomotive and carriages derailed as the train went into a bend in the railway line near Spuyten Duyvil station.
At least one eyewitness said the train – the 05:54 from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station – was travelling much faster than normal at the time.
None of the carriages went into the adjacent Hudson or Harlem rivers – although pictures from the scene suggest this nearly happened.
The train appeared to be going “a lot faster” than normal as it approached the curve coming into the station, passenger Frank Tatulli told WABC-TV.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the curve where the derailment occurred was in a slow speed area, and that the train’s black box recorder should be able to tell how fast the train was travelling.
The Metro-North train’s locomotive and carriages derailed as the train went into a bend in the railway line near Spuyten Duyvil station
Joel Zaritsky was travelling on the train to attend a dental convention in New York City.
“I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
“Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming. There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”
Speaking to the media near the scene, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the casualty figures, adding that the authorities believed everyone at the site has been accounted for and that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was en route to the area to begin an investigation.
“It’s obviously a very tragic situation,” he said.
“The first order of business is to care for the people who were on the train… we’ll wait to see what the NTSB says before speculating as to any causes.”
Metro-North is a rail service that serves commuters from New York City’s northern suburbs. It is not part of the New York City subway system.
Sunday’s accident is the second passenger train derailment this year for the rail service.