An Amtrak train on its inaugural ride on a new line in Washington state Monday was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, the National Transportation Safety Board said, citing data recorder information.
Bella Dinh-Zarr, an NTSB board member, said at a news conference late Monday that information from the data recorder in the rear locomotive provided information about the train’s speed.
Dinh-Zarr said it was not yet known what caused the train to derail and that “it’s too early to tell” why the train was going so fast.
Transportation Department spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said earlier Monday the curve where the train was crossing has a speed limit of 30 mph, the Seattle Times reported.
“Engineers are trained to slow trains according to posted speeds,” LaBoe said.
Additionally, Amtrak President Richard Anderson told reporters in a conference call that Positive Train Control – the technology that can slow or stop a speeding train – wasn’t in use on the stretch of track where the derailment unfolded.
The FBI said in a statement that there was no information to suggest a nexus to terrorism or any elevated risk to Washington residents. The agency was assisting the NTSB in its investigation.
Amtrak train 501 heading southbound derailed around 7:30 a.m. local time after it left the new Tacoma station. The derailment left at least three people dead, while 72 people were hospitalized for medical evaluations, police said.
Photos from the scene showed at least one train car completely detached and fallen onto Interstate 5 below, while another dangled in the air. Drivers on the highway were injured, but none were killed, police said.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Travis Fedschun and Katherine Lam and the Associated Press contributed to this report.