Philadelphia – Body of eighth victim found in derailment wreckage

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The body of an eighth victim was found in the wreckage of the train derailment in Philadelphia, the city’s fire commissioner said on Thursday, as investigators waited to interview the engineer about the crash, which he told his attorney he didn’t remember.

Authorities said they believe they have accounted for all 243 people, including a crew of five, who were on the New York City-bound train when it derailed and crashed on Tuesday night, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said at a news conference.

One car of the seven cars flipped over in the derailment and three others were thrown on their sides, sending passengers and crew flying. About 200 people were injured.

Amtrak train No. 188, which originated in Washington, D.C., was barreling into a curve at more than 100 miles per hour, twice the speed limit, when the engineer hit the brakes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.

Nutter said officials were not releasing information about the eight people who died. The discovery of the eighth victim was announced by Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer.

NTSB officials said they have not yet interviewed the engineer, identified as Brandon Bostian, a resident of the New York City borough of Queens, giving him time to recover from a concussion.

Bostian was cooperating with authorities, according to his attorney Robert Goggin, but had no memory of the crash and “no explanation” for what happened.

“He remembers coming into the curve, he remembers attempting to reduce speed, but thereafter he was knocked out just like all the other passengers on the train,” said Goggin during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

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Bostian, who has a concussion and gash to his head, does not remember deploying the emergency brakes, the lawyer said.

“I believe as a result of the concussion, he has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the event,” Goggin said. “We will have to wait for his memory to come back or for other facts to be ascertained by the NTSB.”

The office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams will determine whether to press criminal charges against Bostian or whether federal charges might be more appropriate, a spokesman said.

“We are gathering information and are still in the preliminary part of fact-finding,” spokesman Cameron Kline said.

Federal investigators were studying video taken from the train, testing brake systems and using three-dimensional imaging of two derailed cars, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said in an interview on Thursday.

The NTSB’s Sumwalt told Reuters that investigators want to talk to Bostian “as soon as he’s available.”

“It’s not that uncommon at all to not remember things” after such a traumatic event, he said.