The Asiana airlines pilots who crashed a Boeing 777 in July at San Francisco International Airport were aware that the plane was flying too low and lacked the speed necessary for a smooth landing but were unable to fix the error in time, according to a report released Wednesday.
Lee Kang Kuk, the pilot-in-training who was learning to land the big jet, told investigators he thought the autothrottle, a device which aids in landing, was “always working,” when in fact, it was not, said the reported from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Mr. Lee and the other pilots in the cockpit realized this seconds before the accident.
The resulting low, slow landing – the plane was supposed to go 137 knots but its speed fell to only 103 knots – caused the plane to hit the seawall, and crash.
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"The trainee captain was asked how confident he felt about his knowledge of the [Boeing] 777 autoflight system just prior to the accident," the report said. "He stated he was not so confident because he felt he should study more."
The July 6 accident was the first time that Lee had attempted to land at San Francisco airport, and the novice pilot had clocked just 33 hours flying the 777, though he had spent nearly 10,000 hours on a variety of other jets, the report indicated. Another pilot, Lee Jeong Min, had spent 3,200 hours flying 777s.
At the time of the crash, there was also one other pilot in the cockpit, according to the investigation.
This 45-page report was released in conjunction with the beginning of the NTSB’s hearings into the crash. The hearing will not assign blame; rather, it will try to understand exactly how the crash happened.
Lee Kang Kuk told investigators he was stressed out and “very concerned” about attempting a visual approach in landing because the runway’s automatic warning systems were out of service due to construction, the report stated. On visual approach, a pilot lands the plane based on visual cues; on an instrument approach, the tower provides much more help. Lee's unfamiliarity with the 777 and the airport likely contributed to his unease about a visual approach.
The Asiana Airlines Flight 214 flew from Incheon, South Korea, with 307 passengers on board. There were three fatalities, and 181 injuries were reported. More than half of the passengers on flight 214 were Chinese citizens who took a flight from Shanghai to Incheon, a trans-Pacific flight hub.
The plane's tail and landing gear struck the seawall at San Francisco airport, sending the plane spinning. An oil tank then erupted and leaked fuel onto the plane's engine, starting a fire.
One passenger who was reportedly alive at the time of the crash was run over by a fire truck in rescue efforts.
After the crash, Asiana Airlines said it would sue the Oakland, Calif.-based TV station KTVU for falling victim to a hoax and reporting bogus and culturally offensive pilot names. Asiana has since dropped the lawsuit.
Asiana is offering $10,000 to each of the surviving passengers, which the airline says is not a settlement and does not prevent passengers from suing the airline.
Attorneys representing more than 60 of the crash victims suing the airline and Boeing plan to attend the NTSB hearing. The hearing was scheduled to start Tuesday and to run for two days, but it was postponed because of wintry weather in Washington.
• Reporting from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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Rep. Steve Stockman (R) of Texas is launching a campaign against a fellow Texas Republican, Sen. John Cornyn, marking perhaps the highest-profile tea party challenge so far to an establishment Republican in next spring's primaries.
Political experts had anticipated that Senator Cornyn would sweep through the primaries without any serious challenges, but Representative Stockman filed for the seat minutes before the 6 p.m. local deadline, according to Texas Republican Party spokesman Spencer Yeldell.
Stockman is known for his inflammatory gestures, such as likening President Obama to Saddam Hussein, inviting Ted Nugent to the State of the Union address this year, and calling for the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations.
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It's not yet clear how much of a challenge Stockman will present to Cornyn. Stockman has only $32,000 cash-on-hand, while Cornyn has $7 million. Moreover, two groups that often back primary opponents against incumbent senators, the Senate Conservative Fund and the Madison Project, both praised the general concept of a conservative challenge to Cornyn but stopped short of endorsing Stockman, The New York Times reported.
Stockman's entry into the primaries, however, will put pressure on Cornyn to more further to the right. Stockman has already said he plans to attack Cornyn over the senator's perceived transgressions against the tea party.
Before July, Cornyn had racked up impressive conservative credentials. The Texas Republican has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association; a voting records that jibes nicely with oil interests; stellar ratings from pro-life groups; and has also won multiple awards from the antitax group, Americans for Tax Reform. In 2012, the National Journal ranked Cornyn as the second most conservative senator.
In July, he incurred the ire of tea partyers when he decided to remove his signature from a letter by Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah that expressed strong support to defund the president’s controversial health-care law, even in the face of a government shutdown. The Senate Conservatives Fund labeled Cornyn a “turncoat.” Stockman's best bet, it seems, will be to focus on Cornyn's July conciliation.
After declaring his candidacy, Stockman detailed why he was running: “We are all extremely disappointed in the way [Cornyn] treated his fellow congressmen and ... undermined Ted Cruz’s fight to stop Obamacare. And now, it looks like Cruz was right and Cornyn was wrong. He sided with the president, essentially, in making sure Obamacare became law while Cruz did everything possible to stop it," The Washington Post reported.
Cruz has not commented on the matter, saying through his spokesperson that he will not get involved in any incumbent primaries, the Times wrote.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he will stand by Cornyn in the March 4 primaries.
"The Governor has been very clear in his support for Senator Cornyn and nothing has changed," said Perry spokesman Rich Parsons, according to the Texas Tribune.
Stockman was elected to the US House of Representatives last year after a relatively low profile “reelection” campaign. The congressman served in the House for one term from 1995 to 1997, riding the Newt Gingrich wave of conservatives. (Stockman reportedly thought that Gingrich was too liberal.) During his first term, Stockman was best known for accusing the US government of “executing” members of the Branch Davidian cult, the Associated Press reported.
Stockman’s name was most recently in the news after the Houston Chronicle published an investigation into his finances. The congressman has failed to properly file a financial report of his myriad accounts, the Chronicle reported.
Before Stockman appeared on the Senate primary scene, six little-known Republicans and five Democrats were set to challenge Cornyn, the Associated Press reported.
Stockman is one of several tea party candidates facing off against establishment GOP legislators deemed insufficiently conservative. In Kentucky, tea party favorite Matt Bevin is taking on Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and in Mississippi, the far-right state Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran.
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Major retailers in New York City, collaborating with the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights advocates, released a customers’ bill of rights on Monday in response to several accusations of racial profiling in recent months at stores in the Big Apple.
The one-page bill of rights will be displayed in stores such as Barneys, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and the Gap, and it will include phone numbers for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the state Division of Human Rights, and the manager of each store that posts it.
The document “strictly prohibits unreasonable searches and/or the profiling of customers by any employee,” and requires that a person should be detained only if an employee “has reasonable grounds” to believe that the person was in criminal possession of “an anti-security item” or “was committing or attempting to commit shoplifting on the premises.”
At a news conference Monday, the Rev. Mr. Sharpton said he hopes the signs will go up this week.
Retailers in New York City have been under rising pressure from civil rights groups, such as the National Action Network, after three customers filed suit against Barneys and Macy’s, accusing the stores of singling them out for suspicion because they are black or Hispanic.
The New York attorney general’s office and the city’s Human Rights Commission are conducting parallel investigations into the allegations and, more broadly, into the stores' security practices, The New York Times reported Monday.
Barneys and Macy’s have denied engaging in racial profiling, saying that the New York Police Department was at fault. However, an NYPD spokesman maintains that detectives involved in the incidents were responding to information given to them by the department stores' employees, the New York Daily News reported in late October.
The new articulation of customers' rights is a step in the right direction, Sharpton said Monday, but it doesn’t address the whole problem.
“The policies in place are not adequate,” agreed Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and the city's comptroller-elect, who took part in meetings with store officials to craft the new customers’ bill of rights. “We have a lot more work to do,” Mr. Stringer said, according to The New York Times.
Sharpton and Stringer have asked to meet with incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, according to media reports.
In November, HBO television actor Robert Brown filed suit against the NYPD and Macy’s after three men, whom Mr. Brown believes to be NYPD officers, stopped him in the middle of the store and accused him of credit-card fraud.
"They cuff me, parade me around the store, all the while maintaining, 'we do this all the time, it's a fake card, you're going to go to jail,' " Brown said on Oct. 29 while recounting the incident on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." The incident reportedly happened in June.
The new customers’ bill of rights requires plainclothes officers to identify themselves when approaching shoppers.
Brown came forward after a young black man, Trayon Christian, filed suit in mid-October against Barneys and the NYPD. Mr. Christian said he was stopped by police and briefly held after buying an expensive belt at Barneys New York last spring.
Kayla Phillips, who also was moved to come forward after hearing Christian’s story, told the New York Daily News that police surrounded her outside Barneys after she bought a $2,500 handbag using a debit card. According to reports, police let Ms. Phillips go after she presented identification along with her credit card.
Barneys publicly apologized for the two incidents and launched an internal review.
Macy’s spokesman Ed Goldberg said the company understands the gravity of Brown's accusations. The retailer supports the customers' bill of rights and “looks forward to welcoming everyone as a customer at Macy’s,” he told the New York Post.
Brown’s lawyer is skeptical about steps the retailer has taken so far.
“I think it’s a marketing ploy,” John Elefterakis said to The New York Times. “We don’t believe that this is a solution. We’re moving forward with our lawsuit" against Macy’s.
A swath of winter storms that had spread across the East Coast over the weekend, interrupting traffic, felling power lines, and depositing sheets of snow, is likely to last into Tuesday, according to National Weather Service forecasts.
Late Monday afternoon, winter weather advisories were in place in northern Virginia along the West Virginia border, as well as in the far Northeast states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and parts of Massachusetts. The NWS is forecasting between one to five inches of snow in these areas by Tuesday.
“I don’t think it’s going to warm up anytime soon,” Bruce Sullivan, an NWS meteorologist, told Reuters.
Monday's storm casualties now include a Senate session to vote on a judicial nomination. Citing inclement weather, Senate majority leader Harry Reid postponed a scheduled vote on the previously filibustered nomination of Patricia Milllett to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mr. Reid moved the nomination vote from Monday evening to Tuesday morning.
Storms over the weekend along the East Coast also caused interruptions at main airline routes on Monday. Airlines canceled more than 1,600 flights nationwide, according to tracking website Flightaware.com, with "excessive delays" reported at Boston's Logan International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International, and Philadelphia International Airport, among others.
The storm brought the season’s first measurable snow to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore – a bit earlier than usual for those cities. The average date of the first measurable snow ranges from Dec. 14 in Baltimore to Dec. 18 in Philadelphia.
Over the weekend, northern Maryland received seven to 10 inches of snow, central and eastern Pennsylvania got four to 10 inches, and parts of New York received up to 10 inches through Monday morning, according to the NWS.
Nationally, FlightStats.com counted more than 6,100 flights as canceled since Saturday, the Washington Post reported. More than 1,200 of the canceled flights were from Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport.
A winter storm hit northern Texas and some southern regions of the East Coast on Sunday with unexpected force, the Post reported. As of Monday, nearly 22,000 homes and businesses remained without power, The Associated Press reported.
The West Coast was not spared from the weekend’s cold either, and a storm produced snow in Washington, California, Nevada, and the "four corner" states. That storm later brought light ice to parts of the south-central United States, according to The Weather Channel.
The lowest temperature recorded during this West Coast storm was 42 degrees below zero F. in Jordan, Mont., on Saturday.
While the New York City real estate market is tight for humans, it just got a bit more competitive for cockroaches as well. A species of this much-maligned insect – one that can survive in freezing temperatures – has lately made its way from Asia to the Big Apple.
The species, Periplaneta japonica, is native to Japan and could threaten the American cockroach, currently the pervasive species in New York, according to a recent report published by the Journal of Economic Entomology.
In situations like this, when a migrating species arrives, the new and old rarely end up cohabiting. Moreover, the Japanese cockroaches’ ability to withstand cold temperatures could give them a one-up on their American counterparts.
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“It is very conceivable that it [the Japanese cockroach] could live outdoors during winter in New York. That is in addition to its being well suited to live indoors alongside the species that already are here,” researcher Jessica Ware said, in a statement.
The two types of cockroaches “are competing for space and food,” says Ms. Ware, from Rutgers University in Rutgers, N.J. This means there will likely be a winner, and a loser, in the cockroach real estate game, she explains in a telephone interview with the Monitor.
During winter, American cockroaches survive by finding a warm corner in which to weather the cold, bouncing among a building's apartments to escape exterminators.
Alas for the vast majority of Americans who do not like cockroaches, competition between the two species is not likely to cause them to eliminate each other, Ware adds.
It is also very unlikely that the two species would cross-breed and create a hybrid super roach. “The male and female genitalia fit together like a lock and key that that differs by species,” explained Dominic Evangelista, a graduate at student working with Ware at Rutgers, according to the university's report on the research. “So we assume that one won’t fit the other.”
Researchers began looking into the new cockroach arrivals last year, when an exterminator at the High Line Park in New York City found an unusual-looking insect carcass and decided to send it to the University of Florida for analysis.
The recipient of the cockroach remains, Lyle Buss, contacted the Smithsonian, which in turn brought in Ware because of her expertise on cockroaches, according to the Rutgers website.
Mr. Evangelista analyzed the species’ genetic characteristic to confirm that there is, in fact, a different species of insect on American shores.
It’s not clear how the cockroach arrived, says Ware, but researchers suspect that one or more of the ornamental plants that adorn the new High Line Park might have spirited the insect on its cross-continental journey.
Though there have been no other sightings of the new cockroach species, “they do very well as hitchhikers,” Ware said in the statement.
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The White House has confirmed that Barack Obama had, in fact, lived briefly with an uncle who faced deportation from the United States – backtracking from an earlier statement that denied the president and his relative had ever met.
In 2011, a White House spokesperson denied that the president and his uncle had ever met. This version of events was gleaned from the president’s memoirs and public records, said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, on Thursday. “Nobody spoke to the president” on the matter, Mr. Carney said.
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When Carney heard that the elder Mr. Obama testified in immigration court Tuesday that his nephew stayed with him for three weeks, Carney said he decided to ask the president directly about the issue.
Onyango Obama, who is known as Omar, testified at his deportation hearing that his nephew, Barack Obama, had stayed with him for three weeks while the president was a student at Harvard Law School.
The elder Obama is the half brother of the president’s late father, and he ignored a deportation order for more than two decades, the Associated Press reported.
The president “had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school,” the press secretary said Thursday, and “he [the president] stayed with him for a brief period of time until the president’s apartment was ready.”
Barack Obama studied at Harvard Law School starting in 1988 and graduated in 1991.
“The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in roughly 10 years,” Carney said.
A federal judge in Boston ruled on Tuesday that the elder Obama could stay in the US and eventually apply for citizenship.
Carney said there has been “absolutely zero interference” by the White House into the matter.
The president’s relationship with his uncle came up in 2011 when Onyango Obama was arrested for drunken driving in Framingham, Mass., a suburb of Boston.
After he was booked on the drunken-driving charges, police told him he could make a phone call, The Boston Globe reported. “I think I’d like to call the White House,” he reportedly told Framingham police.
The charges were dismissed after he completed a year of probation and 14 weeks of alcohol education, according to the AP.
But the booking had brought to light Onyango Obama's immigration status, and proceedings went forward on that front.
This is the second of President Obama’s relatives from Kenya who have run into immigration problems, according to the Globe.
Onyango Obama’s sister, Zeituni Onyango, also faced deportation, before a Boston immigration judge granted her asylum in 2010.
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Snow, sleet, freezing rain – they’re all making a sweep from the western corner of the United States to the South, propelled by Arctic air.
The winter storm has already brought heavy snowfall to a large swath of the nation extending from Washington State to Michigan and as far south as New Mexico. The storm is now well on its way to Texas and Arkansas and is also heading east into Tennessee.
"This cold air is going to overtake just about the entire country," said Carl Parker, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. The storm is expected to affect 32 million people for the rest of the week – and the only Americans likely to miss out are residents along the Eastern Seaboard, according to weather predictions.
Going into Thursday evening, Texas and the mid-South are expected to face as much as an inch of ice. The thicker the ice, the more likely it is to weigh down trees and power lines, triggering power outages.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service has issued ice storm warnings for parts of far northeast Texas, southern Oklahoma, and western Tennessee.
“This is going to be overwhelming in terms of power outages,” said Jim Cantore, a storm tracker for The Weather Channel, reporting from Dallas. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a million-plus (outages).”
Still, the South has had warm weather leading up to the storm, and meteorologists are hopeful those conditions will prevent a hard freeze from setting in.
But bitterly cold temperatures in the Rockies have already prompted safety warnings for residents, and the Arctic air has threatened crops as far south and west as California, The Weather Channel said.
On Wednesday, parts of New Mexico had a frosting of snow, with up to six inches around Santa Fe.
In Pullman, Wash., on Wednesday, the temperature fell below zero for the first time in almost three years, NBC reported. In Oregon, authorities closed part of Interstate 84 on Tuesday because of traffic jams brought on by the snow.
In the Dakotas, the extreme temperatures posed a possible threat to cattle ranchers, according to the Associated Press. Ranchers lost thousands of their stock during a blizzard in early October, but since then, the cattle have had time to grow their winter coats, adding a layer of insulation.
"Cattle are a hardy species," Julie Ellingson, executive vice president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, told the AP. "They can endure a lot."
After this storm, which The Weather Channel has named Cleon, another storm system could bring similar weather conditions into parts of the southern Plains, Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast this weekend into Monday, the channel reported.
When battling forest fires in Arizona last June, state forestry officials placed a higher value on the protection of property than on human life, according to new investigation by state officials.
The Wednesday ruling from the Arizona Industrial Commission came after its investigative agency, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), released findings that recommended citations and financial penalties against the Arizona State Forestry Division, the Associated Press reported.
ADOSH’s report rejected the Forestry Division’s September review of the forest fires that killed 19 members of a 20-person team of Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 near Yarnell, Ariz., a town northwest of Phoenix. The Hotshots' deaths led to a national debate about the value of saving homes and rebuilding in fire-prone areas.
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The Forestry Division’s review did not assign blame in the deaths and “found no indication of negligence, reckless actions, or violations of policy or protocol.”
In a direct rebuttal, the Industrial Commission report found that the Forestry Division failed to remove firefighters even after it learned that "suppression of extremely active chaparral fuels was ineffective and that wind would push active fire towards non-defensible structures.” While communication problems did play a role in the firefighters’ deaths, those problems arose because key staff members failed to show up for a morning planning meeting and because the Hotshot crew wasn’t provided with adequate maps or a second escape route, the Industrial Commission said.
The commission is requiring the Forestry Division to pay a total of $559,000 in fines, which includes payments of $25,000 to the survivors of each of the 19 Hotshots killed in the flames.
While combating the fire on June 30, members of the Hotshot team moved from a relatively safe area on a ridgetop down a mountainside through an unburned area, when a wall of flames trapped the group after winds shifted unexpectedly. It remains unclear why the firefighters did not notify anyone they were moving or why they relocated, the AP reported.
The only surviving crew member, Brendan McDonough, was acting as a lookout for the others who had gone down the mountainside. Mr. McDonough was rescued before flames reached the area where he was located.
The Forestry Division was in charge of containing the blazing forest fire that began on June 28 with a lightning strike near Yarnell. The flames, which destroyed more than 100 homes, were finally contained on July 10.
The Industrial Commission’s chairman, David Parker, said he believed the fire management team on site did everything in its power to defend the community and provide for the safety of people, The Daily Courier of Prescott, Ariz., reported.
“It’s not the intention of the people that (is) in question, it’s that employees remained exposed after they no longer should be exposed,” Mr. Parker said.
The mother of one of the firefighters has filed a $36 million notice of claim against the state, Yavapai County, and the city of Prescott, saying their negligence led to the death of her son, the AP said.
Carrie Dennett, a spokeswoman for the Forestry Division, said the agency fully cooperated with the investigation and declined to comment to the AP. The Forestry Division has 15 days to dispute the ADOSH findings, which were unanimously approved by the Industrial Commission.
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As the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the Sunday derailing of a Metro-North train continues, the possibility of mechanical error as a cause is slowly being ruled out.
The NTSB’s preliminary investigations revealed there were no anomalies in the train’s brake performance, and there was no indication that the brake systems were not functioning properly, said NTSB member Earl Weener during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
The train’s driver, William Rockefeller, who was injured in the crash, told investigators that he “lost focus” and went into a daze shortly before the crash, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday. A second source also said Mr. Rockefeller went into a “highway hypnosis” before the crash took place.
The Metro-North train went hurling off its tracks at 82 m.p.h. in an area where the speed limit is 30 m.p.h.
Whatever the findings on the cause of the crash, the engineer could be faulted for the train's speed alone, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"Certainly, we want to make sure that that operator is disciplined in an appropriate way. There's such a gross deviation from the norm," Governor Cuomo said on Tuesday, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Crew members, including Rockefeller, are being interviewed on Tuesday, and initial breathalyzer tests came back negative for all crew members, according to federal investigators. The results of drug tests are still pending.
Rockefeller worked for Metro-North for 15 years and has been an engineer for 10 of those years. Rockefeller had worked on his route – running from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Grand Central Terminal in New York City – full-time since November, according to Mr. Weener.
When Rockefeller clocked in on Sunday morning at 5:04 a.m., it was the second day of his five-day workweek. The engineer was scheduled to make two round trips each day and typically worked nine-hour days, Weener said.
The Federal Railroad Administration instituted new regulations on working hours in April 2012 to “minimize the fatigue factor,” tightening the number of hours and days commuter-rail employees can work.
The NTSB said its investigation will continue for weeks, possibly months, and the organization has not yet found a definite cause for the train’s derailment.
The New York Police Department is conducting its own investigation with help from the Bronx district attorney’s office, in the event the derailment becomes a criminal case.
"Once the NTSB is done with their investigation and Billy [Rockefeller] is finished with his interview, it will be quite evident that there was no criminal intent with the operation of his train," said Anthony Bottalico, executive director of the rail employees’ union.
Rockefeller, who has never been disciplined for job performance as a train driver, has hired a defense lawyer, Jeffery Chartier, according to Reuters.
Four people were killed, and more than 60 were injured when the train derailed.
Sunday’s accident is the second on the Metro-North line in six months and occurred about 2,000 feet from where the previous crash happened. In July, a CSX freight train carrying tons of garbage derailed.
The two crash sites both lie along a curve in the train tracks where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers meet in the Bronx near Spuyten Duyvil station. The area is a “slow zone” because of two tight curves that come in quick succession. In the area, the speed limit drops to 30 m.p.h., compared with 70 m.p.h. for the track well ahead of the curves.
The commuter train that derailed in the Bronx borough of New York early Sunday morning was traveling 82 m.p.h. when it went hurtling off the tracks in an area where the speed limit was 30 m.p.h., said a National Transportation Safety Board official on Monday afternoon.
This discovery is part of an ongoing investigation by the NTSB to find out why seven Metro-North passenger cars and their locomotive veered off track en route from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
The board’s investigation team used data recorders from the train’s rear-mounted locomotive and front car to help establish a timeline of events, including the train’s speed. Approximately six seconds before the rear engine came to a stop, the throttle went idle. One second later, pressure in the brake pipe dropped to zero, which resulted in max breaking.
It is still too early to know whether it was human or mechanical error that caused the crash, and authorities were not yet sure what caused the throttle to idle or the brake pressure to drop, said Earl Weener, an NTSB member during Monday’s press conference.
On Monday, the NTSB began to interview the train’s engineer and plans to speak with three other crew members during the next few days.
The train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, was injured and "is totally traumatized by everything that has happened," said Anthony Bottalico, executive director of the rail employees union, according to the Associated Press.
Sunday’s accident is the second on the Metro-North line in six months and occurred about 2,000 feet from where the previous crash happened. In July, a CSX freight train carrying tons of garbage derailed. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), owned by the state of New York, runs the Metro-North commuter rail.
The two crash sites both lie along a curve in the train tracks where the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet in the Bronx near Spuyten Duyvil station. The MTA considers this area to be a “slow zone” because of two tight curves that come in quick succession. In the area, the speed limit drops to 30 m.p.h., compared with 70 m.p.h. for the track well ahead of the curves, said Mr. Weener.
The wreck in the Bronx came two years before the federal government's deadline for Metro-North and other railroads to install automatic-slowdown technology designed to prevent catastrophic accidents, the AP reported. But with the cause of Sunday's wreck unknown, it was not clear whether the technology would have made a difference.
As the investigation continues, the rail cars and locomotive, which were repositioned onto tracks early Monday morning, will be moved to a secure location for more detailed study, according to the NTSB.
The deaths of four passengers in Sunday's derailment are the first in an accident in the MTA’s 31-year history. The Metro-North train was half-full at the time of the crash and was carrying approximately 150 passengers when the incident occurred.