Amtrak train’s crew noted high speed just before crash, NTSB says

Seconds before an Amtrak train flew off the tracks in Washington, the engineer told the crew they were traveling too fast, according to an early National Transportation Safety Board review of the crash that killed three people.

More than 70 people were injured in the Monday morning derailment, in which several train cars fell from a bridge and onto a highway in the city of DuPont, about 20 miles south of Tacoma, authorities said. The train was making the inaugural run of a new route aimed at cutting travel times and improving safety south of Tacoma.

The results of the preliminary review, released on Friday, come from details gathered from an "event data recorder" and cameras mounted on the lead locomotive. The devices captured the crew's actions, their conversations and other information, the NTSB said.

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Amtrak train derails in Washington state
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Amtrak train derails in Washington state
DUPONT, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 18: Emegency crews work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. The derailment also closed southbound I-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
An Amtrak passenger train is seen derailed on a bridge over interstate highway (I-5) in this Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy WSDOT/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
Washington State Trooper Brooke Bova briefs the media at the scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train derailment over interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train derailment on interstate highway (I-5) in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train derailment over interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train is seen derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tom James
First responders and investigators are seen near the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
DUPONT, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 18: Law enforcement work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. The derailment also closed southbound I-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Photos from scene of amtrak passenger train derailment https://t.co/gd09MzLCC6
NEW: NBC's @anblanx reports that there are multiple deaths and injuries following an Amtrak train derailment in Tac… https://t.co/wrgXvFiiOM
WSP diverting traffic at DuPont. WSP aiding withbroad closure & getting assistance to scene. https://t.co/fRw4uGNIVv
NEW: @CBSNews is hearing official word that there are casualties with potential fatalities in the @Amtrak train der… https://t.co/7s4RHGYyiN
Amtrak derailment in Washington State being treated as a mass-casualty scene. https://t.co/VabCii9zhn
Developing: Amtrak train derails near Seattle onto the I-5 freeway https://t.co/XfF79Hxdfj https://t.co/DCjgYtjPBp
First responders and investigators are seen near the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tom James
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The recordings included comments by the engineer about six seconds before the derailment about "an over speed condition," the NTSB said in a statement. Officials said earlier this week that the engineer was in a cab with a conductor and that the train's brakes were engaged automatically, not by the engineer.

The recording ended with the locomotive tilting and the crew bracing for impact, the statement said.

Related: Amtrak derailment: Train was traveling at 80 mph in 30-mph zone

The final recorded speed of the locomotive was 78 mph, which is within the limits for the approach to the crash location, but not the location itself, which followed a curve with a posted 30 mph speed limit, according to the NTSB. There's a sign noting the speed limit about two miles before the curve, the NTSB said.

The train was not equipped with positive train control, which can prevent derailments caused by excessive speed, officials have said.

Related: ‘Positive Train Control’ ordered by Congress, but not yet in place

The footage collected by the NTSB showed none of the crew using any personal electronic devices such as cellphones, the agency said.

The NTSB's full investigation of the crash is expected to take up to two years. 

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