Wreckage is removed from Amtrak crash site

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A Derailment, an Investigation and a Return to Trains

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The last wrecked railcars from the deadly Amtrak accident were removed Friday as investigators tried to figure out why the train sped up from 70 mph to over 100 mph in the minute before it went into a sharp bend.

Brandon Bostian, the engineer whose handling of the train has emerged as a central element in the probe, has agreed to talk to federal accident investigators in the coming days, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Meanwhile, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said in a letter on the railroad's blog Thursday that Amtrak "takes full responsibility and deeply apologizes for our role in this tragic event."

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Amtrak accident aftermath
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Wreckage is removed from Amtrak crash site
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Police shut down a ramp that lead to a train track near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 15: A construction worker begins to unload heavy machinery from a truck to repair damaged train tracks at the crash site of this week's Amtrak passenger train on May 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least 8 people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the train derailment carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 15: NTSM spokesperson Robert Sumwalt is interviewed about the Amtrak crash near the wreckage of this week's Amtrak passenger train on May 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least eight people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the train crash carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York, which derailed on May 12, 2015 in north Philadelphia. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: NTSB spokesmen Robert Sumwalt walks over to speak to the media about the Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today rescue workers recovered another body from the wreckage after Tuesday night's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, the death toll now at eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Joseph Boardman (L), President and CEO of Amtrak listens to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (L) speak about the Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today rescue workers recovered another body from the wreckage after Tuesday night's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, the death toll now at eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Investigators and rescue personnel gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB IIC Mike Flanigon (R) with Member Robert Sumwalt (L) and Vice Chairman Dinh-Zarr (Center-L) work on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt works on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, The NTSB Go Team arrives on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 Derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB Recorder Specialist Cassandra Johnson (2nd R) works with officials on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB IIC Mike Flanigon (L) briefs Vice Chairman Dinh-Zarr on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailmenton May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt with Philadelphia officials The NTSB Go Team arrives on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: NTSB spokesmen Robert Sumwalt briefs the media on the latest findings into Tueday's Amtrak train derailment, May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today another body was found raising the death toll to eight with more than 200 injured. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Members of the National Transportation Safety Board gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Police gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Repair crews inspect damages at the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: NTSB member Robert Sumwalt briefs members of the media near the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Maintance workers repair damaged lines after poles were knocked over when an Amtrak Northeast Regional Train derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. US investigators on Wednesday painstakingly combed through the twisted wreckage of an Amtrak train for clues as to why it derailed in Philadelphia, leaving at least six people dead and more than 200 injured. Officials warned the death toll could rise after the crash late Tuesday along the busy northeast US rail corridor linking Washington and New York, as some of the 243 passengers and crew believed to have been on the train had not yet been accounted for. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
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The derailment Tuesday night killed eight people and injured more than 200.

"With truly heavy hearts, we mourn those who died. Their loss leaves holes in the lives of their families and communities," Boardman wrote.

He said the railroad's goal is "to fully understand what happened and how we can prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future."

On Thursday, the NTSB said that the locomotive's video camera showed that in the last minute or so before the derailment, the Washington-to-New York train accelerated rapidly as it approached a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

The engineer applied the emergency brakes seconds before the wreck, but it was too late, investigators have said.

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said it is unclear whether the speed was increased manually by the engineer.

So far, investigators have found no problems with the track, the signals or the locomotive, and the train was running on time, Sumwalt said.

Separately, the Philadelphia district attorney's office said it is investigating and will decide whether to bring charges.

Bostian's lawyer, Robert Goggin, told ABC News that his client suffered a concussion in the wreck and has "absolutely no recollection whatsoever" of the crash but had not been using his cellphone and had not been drinking or using drugs.

The last wrecked cars were pulled from the scene and were being taken on flatbed trucks to an Amtrak installation in Delaware for further examination.

Amtrak service on the heavily traveled stretch between New York and Philadelphia is expected to be suspended through Monday while the tracks and other equipment are repaired, the railroad said. Earlier, Amtrak said limited service was scheduled to resume on Monday.

The first funeral for the victims was held Friday morning. Services for Justin Zemser, a 20-year-old midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, took place on Long Island.

5 PHOTOS
Amtrak crash victims (including funerals & mourners)
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Wreckage is removed from Amtrak crash site
HEWLETT, NY - MAY 15: Midshipmen from the U.S Naval academy carry Midshipman Justin Zemser to a waiting car after his funeral on May 15, 2015 in Hewlett New York. Zemser was one of eight people who were killed in the derailment of an Amtrak train on May 12th in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
HEWLETT, NY - MAY 15: Midshipmen from the U.S Naval academy carry Midshipman Justin Zemser to a waiting car after his funeral on May 15, 2015 in Hewlett New York. Zemser was one of eight people who were killed in the derailment of an Amtrak train on May 12th in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
HEWLETT, NY - MAY 15: Susan Zemser and Howard Zemser attend the funeral for their son, Midshipman Justin Zemser, on May 15, 2015 in Hewlett New York. Zemser was one of eight people who were killed in the derailment of an Amtrak train on May 12th in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
The @NavalAcademy is heartbroken to confirm that a #usna midshipman is among those who lost their lives in the #Amtrak188 derailment.
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Six of the injured remained in critical condition but were expected to pull through.

Bostian, 32, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor's degree in business administration and management in 2006. He became an Amtrak engineer in 2010, four years after landing a job as a conductor, according to his LinkedIn profile. He lives in New York City.

Friends said he talked about trains constantly while growing up and wanted to be an engineer or a conductor even back then.

"He would go on vacation and bring back subway maps," Stefanie McGee, a friend in Bostian's hometown of Bartlett, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis. "He would go places with his family, and he would talk about the trains instead of the places."

Will Gust, a college fraternity brother of Bostian's, said he had "nothing but good things to say about Brandon."

"He is a very conscientious person, one of the most upstanding individuals that I know, just a really good-quality person," Gust said.

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Kunzelman reported from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Associated Press writers Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Missouri, Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee, and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed to this story.

More from the crash site:

34 PHOTOS
Amtrak train crash, derailment, Philadelphia
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Wreckage is removed from Amtrak crash site
Amtrak assistant conductor Brandon Bostian stands by on Aug. 21, 2007 as Sandra Palmer of University City says goodbye to her boyfriend, Clyde Simpson, as he leaves for work in Chicago at the Amtrak station in St. Louis. Bostian was the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia. (Huy Richard Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late last night May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Members of the National Transportation Safety Board gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Repair crews inspect damages at the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York, that derailed yesterday May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least six people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt works on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator Robert Sumwalt speaks during a press conference regarding the wreckage of the derailed Amtrak Northeast Regional Train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. The engineer of a US passenger train traveling at more than twice the approved limit slammed on the emergency brakes just before it derailed in Philadelphia, leaving at least seven people dead, investigators said. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York, that derailed yesterday May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least six people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late last night May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Rescuers work around derailed carriages of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers stand near a derailed carriage of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers work around derailed carriages of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers queue infront of ticketing counters at Union Station on May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. Witnesses said the front of Amtrak Train 188, heading from Washington DC to New York, shook as it went into a turn and crashed at about 9:30 pm on Tuesday (0130 GMT Wednesday). AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Information screen showing cancelled train services at the Union Station on May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least six people and injured more than 140. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Injured Amtrak passengers that were bused from to New York from Philadelphia wait at Penn Station May 13, 2015 in New York. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers injured in an Amtrak train derailment who were bused from to New York from Philadelphia, walk through Penn Station May 13, 2015 in New York. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Carolan Berkeley (L), who had an Amtrak ticket to go from New York to Washington D.C., waits for a bus from New York to Washington D.C. on May 13, 2015 in New York City. An Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia last night has forced train service to be suspended between New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., causing commuters to use NJ Transit, flights and bus services. The crash killed at least six people and injured dozens more. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
My train crashed
http://t.co/GvooK8lq58
Im on @Amtrak train that just crashed. Im ok. Helping others. Pray for those injured.
@Amtrak @msnbc @NBCNews pray for these passengers. http://t.co/mksZNy7eqo
Amtrak Northeast Regional crashes, was en route to NYC http://t.co/Faz7G48nbf http://t.co/XoLgkdBnHY
#BREAKING - At least 50 hurt in Amtrak derailment in Philly. Live video here: http://t.co/btWPTtn6HM
Multiple injuries reported after Amtrak train #188 from DC to NYC derails in #Philadelphia. Several cars overturned. http://t.co/mHFbLOv3to
Lot's of injuries at the #amtrak derailment. #Pray http://t.co/DADBYAqojg
#Amtrak crash: 50+ people injured http://t.co/IpNb3bkIzp
Amtrak train derailment. http://t.co/fAwU7MFrZC
Live picture of the triage center at 2400 Wheatsheaf for the Amtrak derailment. http://t.co/JL2XuYZfob
EMT helping survivors taking them to the hospital #amtrak #philly http://t.co/SfyFJJjNqO
FBI: nothing indicates that #Amtrak derailment linked to terrorist attack http://t.co/P2as9zyu2S
Video I took moments after crash. People trying to open the door and get off the train. http://t.co/fJ2bxXfmhG
Photos from tonight's Amtrak derailment in Port Richmond http://t.co/DIv1xCk5YU http://t.co/ZzJqcOYPGU
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