NTSB checking for driver error in Metro-North crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is considering the possibility that a train driver error led to the fatal crash of a New York Metro-North commuter train over the weekend.

The NTSB board member who has been placed in charge of the investigation said in an interview with CNN that the agency's preliminary investigation showed the Metro-North's trains brakes were working fine on nine stops that were made prior to the Sunday crash that resulted in four passengers' deaths.

"We don't know whether it was human error or mechanical failure," NTSB Board Member Earl Weener said during an appearance on CNN's "Situation Room."

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"That, of course, is the reason why we'll be continuing this investigation with a great deal of intensity," Weener continued. "But that's what we want to find out."

The NTSB said on Monday that the Metro-North train was traveling at 82 miles-per-hour in the seconds before it approached a curve of track where the speed limit was only 30 miles-per-hour. The train, which was en route to New York City from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., derailed on the curve and several of its train cars rolled over onto their sides when they left the tracks.

In additional to the four passengers that were killed in the crash, more than 60 other suffered injuries.

Weener said the accident investigators had recovered black data recorder boxes from the Metro North and were interviewing the employees of the railway that were working on the train.

Weener said it was too early to say definitely that the accident was caused by human error, but he said "the train made nine stops and there was no reporting of any braking anomalies."

Weener said the functionality of the Metro-North trains brakes "will be looked at in great detail."

"We have begun the interview process with the engineer," he said. "We have not completed that. That will probably take a couple of days yet."