Cell phone text message in US rail crash investigation

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Car Rental News - 18/09/2008


The cause of a deadly rail accident in California may involve a text message sent to the engineer just before the crash.

Comments by persons close to the investigation suggest that the engineer on the train, who failed to stop at a red signal, may have been reading a text message just before the accident occurred.

More than 40 of the 135 people injured in the crash sustained critical injuries. Twenty-six people died, making the incident the most deadly train accident in the U.S. in 15 years.

Local television reported that a teenager, who is a train buff, received a text message from the train’s engineer around one minute before the crash.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have requested the phone records for both the teenager and the engineer.

The 46-year-old Metrolink engineer, Robert Martin Sanchez, lost his life in the crash, and his cell phone has not been found.

Train regulations prohibit the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by a train’s engineer while on duty, a spokesperson for Metrolink confirmed.

A day after the accident, a spokesperson for Metrolink announced that the cause of the accident was the failure of the train’s engineer to stop at the red signal. NTSB and Metrolink officials were quick to say, however, that those comments were premature.

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