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'Thought I Wasn't Going to Make It': Federal Investigators Look Into Deadly Amtrak Crash

02-05-2018
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WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board is in the early stages of its investigation into an Amtrak train crash that happened early Sunday morning outside of Columbia, South Carolina. 
 
Two people died, the engineer and conductor of the train, and more than 100 others were injured. 
 
According to Amtrak, a switch in the tracks diverted the train off the main line onto a side track, where a freight train was parked. In the darkness of the early morning, the Amtrak train slammed right into the freight train. 
 
"First thought was I was not going to make it," one passenger told reporters. "That was the end for me." 
 
Another passenger described how the crash "ripped my chair right off the floor," adding that an elderly woman next to him was thrown from her seat. 
 
The NTSB says the key to the investigation is figuring out why the switch on the railroad was in the wrong position. 
 
Right now, the agency doesn't believe the engineer is to blame. 
 
"I doubt he could have done anything," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. "The train is going we know somewhere along 50 to 55 miles an hour. We need to confirm that, but moving that fast you would only have just a second to realize you're about to be diverted onto a side track." 
 
The rail company CSX owns the tracks and is cooperating with investigators, although it has yet to give any indication why the switch was in the wrong position.

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