Amtrak CEO: Company 'Takes Full Responsibility' for Fatal Crash

Amtrak-crash
Several media outlets have reported that speeds of up to 100 miles per hour might have been a factor in the crash. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The head of Amtrak said Thursday the railroad company takes "full responsibility" for this week's fatal crash in Philadelphia, as federal officials continue to investigate the cause of the train's derailment.

"Amtrak takes full responsibility and deeply apologizes for our role in this tragic event," Joe Boardman, the company's president and chief executive officer, wrote Thursday in a post on the company's website.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the investigation of the crash, which killed eight people and sent more than 200 people to the hospital. On Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said authorities had accounted for all 243 passengers who they believed were on Amtrak Train No. 188 when it derailed Tuesday around 9:30 p.m.

The train, which was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City, was approaching a turn when its cars derailed. Speed is being considered as a factor in the crash—the second Amtrak incident this week, after a train on Sunday hit a flatbed truck in Amite, Louisiana—but investigators are waiting for a complete review before they declare it as the primary cause. NTSB officials have said the train was traveling more than 100 mph at the time of the crash, over twice the speed limit.

Officials said the commuter rail route where the train crashed was not governed by an advanced safety technology meant to prevent high-speed derailments. In 1943, about 80 people died in a train crash in nearly the exact same spot as Tuesday's derailment.

Boardman wrote that Amtrak is cooperating with the investigation as the company seeks "to fully understand what happened and how we can prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future."

Brandon Bostian was identified as the engineer controlling the train at the time of the incident. The 32-year-old Queens resident has worked for Amtrak for six years. His attorney said in a TV interview with ABC News' Nightline that Bostian didn't remember the crash occurring.

"He has absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual," the attorney, Robert Goggin, said during the interview. "The next thing he recalls is being thrown around, coming to, finding his cellphone and dialing 911."

During the interview, Goggin didn't mention speed as a factor. He said that Bostian remembers only driving the train to the crash area generally.

The train's recorder, which is the equivalent of an airplane's black box, is being analyzed in an effort to provide insight into the cause of the derailment.

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman and an AP employee were among those eight people killed in the crash. The first of the victims' funerals was planned for Friday morning, the Associated Press reported.

Amtrak service between New York and Boston has been restored as of Friday. Modified service between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, and New York and Philadelphia, is expected to continue through Monday, according to Amtrak. Workers are repairing the affected track, signal and power systems.