Nearly 11 months since a Metro-North train derailed in New York City, killing four people and injuring dozens more passengers, federal investigators believe they have reached a conclusion as to what caused the horrific wreck.
According to WCVB reports, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is prepared to announce today the probable causes of the December 1, 2013 train derailment and address four other Metro-North accidents in both New York and Connecticut, which all occurred within 11 months in 2013 and 2014.
The NTSB said it has poured over hundreds of documented findings from the investigations. It is only now that the board has reached probable conclusions as to why the crash occurred. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated that he has seen the report, which, according to Blumenthal, “document[s] the cascading catastrophes over a single year illustrating the urgent need for dramatic upgrades and improvements in safety and reliability."
Though no confirmation has yet been made, early reports in April suggested that the engineer of the derailed train, William Rockefeller, suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea, which ultimately interrupted his sleep dozens of times each night. Likely, Rockefeller was overly drowsy at the time the accident occurred, according to these preliminary reports. Investigators questioned Rockefeller on whether he was clearheaded enough to realize he was hitting the curve at such a high rate of speed, to which Rockefeller replied, “apparently not.”
According to WCVB, other accidents within the 11-month span include a derailment and collision in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that injured more than 50 people on May 17, 2013; the death of a track foreman who was hit by a train in West Haven, Connecticut, on May 28, 2013; the derailment of a freight train on Metro-North tracks in the Bronx on July 18, 2013; and the death of a Metro-North electrician who was hit by a train in Manhattan on March 10, 2014.