NTSB: 2nd data recorder found in derailed NY train

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APTOPIX NYC Train Derailment
By JIM FITZGERALD

NEW YORK (AP) - Two data recorders retrieved from the commuter train that derailed while rounding a riverside curve, killing four people and injuring dozens, may provide information on the speed of the train, how the brakes were applied and the throttle setting, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

The NTSB was downloading data from a recorder previously found in the rear locomotive in the train that derailed Sunday in New York. A second recorder was found in the front car of the train and has been sent to Washington for analysis, board member Earl Weener said.

Weener said investigators have already had some success in retrieving data, but the information has to be validated before it's made public. Investigators plan to conduct interviews Monday or Tuesday with the engineer and conductor, Weener said. He also said clues could be found from a signaling system operated by dispatchers at a central location.

The engineer was identified as William Rockefeller, according to two officials familiar with investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Workers were using giant cranes to right the toppled rail cars and clear the wreckage Monday morning. Five passenger cars and the locomotive were back on the tracks by around 9:30 a.m.

Officials warned the 26,000 weekday riders on the affected line of the nation's second-biggest commuter railroad to brace for crowded trains; shuttle buses were being provided. However, Metro-North Railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan said no major delays were reported during the early part of the rush hour.

"We'd like to get service up toward the end of the week," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

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NTSB: 2nd data recorder found in derailed NY train
Emergency workers respond on scene after a Metro-North commuter train derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and at least 4 deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
National Transportation Board (NTSB) workers look over the wreckage after a Metro-North commuter train derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and at least 4 deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
The Metro-North passenger train derailed en route to New York City near the Spuyten Duyvil station, killing four people and wounding 63 others on December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Injured people are tended to by first responders near the site of the derailment of a Metro-North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track in the Bronx on Sunday morning, coming to rest just inches from the water and causing multiple fatalities and dozens of injuries, authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
A person is evacuated from the scene of the derailment of a Metro-North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
A commuter, who was on a train that derailed on Dec 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York, is seen after being rescued. The train bound for New York's Grand Central Station derailed in the Bronx Sunday with at least four people reported dead after several rail cars left the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil railroad station. The southbound train was traveling from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal when the accident occurred.
First responders gather at the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
Emergency crews help injured passengers after Metro-North train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and several deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
Rescue workers are seen at the wreckage of a commuter train that derailed on Dec 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York. The train bound for New York's Grand Central Station derailed in the Bronx Sunday with at least four people reported dead after several rail cars left the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil railroad station. The southbound train was traveling from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal when the accident occurred.
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast (L) and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (C) speak to the media after Metro-North train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and several deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 1: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (3L) inspects the damage along with emergency crews after Metro-North train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and several deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 1: A Metro-North commuter train lies in the brush near the Hudson River after it derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and at least 4 deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 1: The wreckage of a Metro-North commuter train lies on its side after it derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station December 1, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Multiple injuries and at least 4 deaths were reported after the seven car train left the tracks as it was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River line.
A Metro-North passenger train lays on it's side after derailing in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track in the Bronx on Sunday morning, coming to rest just inches from the water and causing multiple fatalities and dozens of injuries, authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
Cranes lift a derailed Metro-North train car, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in the Bronx borough of New York. Federal authorities began righting the cars Monday morning as they started an exhaustive investigation into what caused a New York City commuter train rounding a riverside curve to derail, killing four people and injuring more than 60 others. A second "event recorder" retrieved from the train may provide information on the speed of the train, how the brakes were applied, and the throttle setting, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.
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About 150 people were on board when the train derailed Sunday morning on Metro-North's Hudson line. About 60 were injured. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 11 patients initially in critical condition did not appear to have life-threatening injuries.

The NTSB said its investigators could spend up to 10 days probing all aspects of the accident that toppled seven cars and the locomotive at a bend in the Bronx where the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet. The speed limit on the curve is 30 mph, compared with 70 mph in the area approaching it, Weener said.

The agency said it would consider whether excessive speed, mechanical problems or human error played a role in the crash.

Cuomo said on NBC's "Today" show that he thinks speed will turn out to be a factor. The governor, speaking from the crash site for a second day, said other possible factors ranged from equipment failure and operator failure to a track problem.

"It was actually much worse than it looked," Cuomo said.

"As the cars were skidding across the ground, they were actually picking up a lot of debris, a lot of dirt and stones and tree limbs were going through the cars so it actually looked worse up close," he said, calling it "your worst nightmare."

It was the latest mishap in a troubled year for Metro-North, which had never before experienced a passenger death during an accident in its 31-year history.

As deadly as the derailment was, the toll could have been far greater had it happened on a weekday, or had the lead car plunged into the water instead of nearing it. The train was about half-full at the time of the crash, rail officials said.

Joel Zaritsky, who was dozing as he traveled to a dental convention, awoke to feel his car overturning several times.

"Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming," he said, holding his bloody right hand. "There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train."

One passenger, Frank Tatulli, told WABC-TV that the train appeared to be going "a lot faster" than usual as it approached the sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station.

Nearby residents awoke to a building-shaking boom. Angel Gonzalez was in bed in his high-rise apartment overlooking the rail curve when he heard the roar.

"I thought it was a plane that crashed," he said.

Within minutes, dozens of emergency crews arrived and carried passengers away on stretchers, some wearing neck braces. Others, bloodied and scratched, held ice packs to their heads. In their efforts to find passengers, rescuers shattered windows, searched nearby woods and waters and used pneumatic jacks and air bags to peer under wreckage.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs Metro-North, identified the victims as Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh; James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring; James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose; and Ahn Kisook, 35, of Queens. Three of the dead were found outside the train; one was inside. Autopsies were scheduled for Monday.

Lovell, an audio technician, was traveling to midtown Manhattan to work on the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, longtime friend Janet Barton said. The tree-lighting ceremony is Wednesday night.

The "Today" show expressed condolences to the family of Lovell, a married father of four who had worked on the program and other NBC shows. "He always had a smile on his face and was quick to share a friendly greeting," ''Today" executive producer Don Nash said in a message to staff.

Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, the NTSB has been urging railroads for decades to install technology that can stop derailing caused by excessive speed, along with other problems.

A rail-safety law passed by Congress in 2008 gave commuter and freight railroads until the end of 2015 to install the systems, known as positive train control. PTC is aimed at preventing human error - the cause of about 40 percent of train accidents. But the systems are expensive and complicated. Railroads are trying to push back the installation deadline another five to seven years.

Metro-North is in the process of installing the technology. It now has what's called an "automatic train control" signal system, which automatically applies the brakes if an engineer fails to respond to an alert that indicates excessive speed.

Such systems can slow trains in some circumstances but not bring them to a halt, said Grady Cothen, a former Federal Railroad Administration safety official.

Sunday's accident came six months after an eastbound train derailed in Bridgeport, Conn., and was struck by a westbound train. The crash injured 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. In July, a freight train full of garbage derailed on the same Metro-North line near the site of Sunday's wreckage.

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