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Amtrak Derailment Kills Two

February 9, 2018

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

Two people were killed and 116 more were injured when an Amtrak train collided with a parked freight train in South Carolina early Sunday morning.

The two fatalities in the crash were Michael Kempf of Savannah, GA., and Michael Cella of Orange Park, FL. Kempf was the engineer of the train, and Cella was the conductor. Most of the 116 injured sustained minor injuries that are not life-threatening.

According to Robert Sumwalt, commissioner of the National Transportation Safety Board, the train was guided off the main track onto a side track by a locked switch that changes the direction of the track. The freight train, owned by CSX Transportation, was parked on the side track. The CSX train was unoccupied. Crew members for CSX failed to set the switch back to the main line after parking the train, which caused the Amtrak train to remain on the side track, running at 56 mph. Sumwalt also said that the signaling system on the track was inoperable. “It’s our understanding that they were doing upgrades to the signal system to get it ready for positive train control.”

There have been four cases involving fatal Amtrak accidents since December of last year. The most recent occurred in Virginia on January 31, when a train carrying congressional Republicans to a legislative retreat hit a garbage truck, killing one. Another incident occurred in North Carolina when a pastor and his wife were struck by an Amtrak train in mid-January, killing both the pastor and his wife. Finally, another derailment occurred in Washington state in December, pitching itself off an overpass and killing three.

Mattew Needham
Contributing Writer

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One Response to Amtrak Derailment Kills Two

  1. Elizabeth

    February 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

    This is an awesome article. I felt like I was reading from a national news source.

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