(HOBOKEN, N.J.) — The crewmembers aboard the train that smashed into a station in Hoboken, NJ Thursday, killing one person and injuring 114 others, have been “very cooperative,” investigators said Friday.
The New Jersey Transit train’s engineer, 48-year-old Thomas Gallagher, was injured in the crash, authorities said. According to a law enforcement official, preliminary tests indicate he was likely not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have made contact with Gallagher, but have yet to conduct a formal interview, NTSB vice chair Bella Dinh-Zarr told reporters Friday evening.
“There won’t be that much time elapsed,” Dinh-Zarr reassured reporters. “So we don’t see that this is going to be an impediment to any recollection.”
In the meantime, the NTSB has struggled to download data from the event recorder recovered from the locomotive. They’re now taking it to another facility, where they’ll attempt to download the information with the help of the manufacturer, Dinh-Zarr said.
The event recorder should shed light on what exactly happened in the train’s final moments. According to state and local authorities, the train slammed through a bumper at the end of the track, and crashed into a waiting area wall, spurring a partial collapse of the roof covering the track. Despite the station’s 10 mph speed restriction, the train appeared to be traveling at a “high rate of speed,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.
Due to concerns about the now-collapsed canopy and possible asbestos in the structure, the NTSB has been unable to examine the train’s three cars, or collect a second data recorder, located in the front of the train. Since none of the evidence is perishable, said Dinh-Zarr, the delay won’t affect the quality of the investigation. The agency says it is also conducting drone inspection of the track.
“We will stay here for as long as it takes,” Dinh-Zarr said.
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