Federal officials on Monday confirmed that an Amtrak train was racing 50 mph over the speed limit when it derailed off an overpass south of Seattle.
The accident killed at least three people and wounded at least 70 more, including ten victims with serious injuries.
A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member on late Monday detailed information from the event data recorder in the train’s rear locomotive.
Bella Dinh-Zarr added that the data showed the train was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it crashed around 7:34 a.m. local time.
“It’s too early to tell,” she said of why the vehicle was traveling so quickly, adding it is not yet known what caused its derailment.
Amtrak President Richard Anderson on Monday said that positive train control – technology used for slowing or halting a speeding train – was not in use on the stretch of track involved.
A track chart prepared by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) showed the maximum speed sinks from 79 mph to 30 mph for passenger trains on the stretch.
The train went off the rails just before the track crosses Interstate 5 in DuPont, Washington, with mangle train cars piling atop one another and one even hanging over the freeway.
The chart, dated Feb. 7, was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in anticipation of the start of passenger service along a new bypass route.
The new path cuts out 10 minutes for the trip between Seattle and Portland, Oregon as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service in the area.
The train involved in Monday’s crash was making its inaugural run along the route, which is designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a track along Puget Sound.
A U.S. official briefed on the probe said he was told at least six people were killed roughly two hours after the derailment.
The official added that he had no new information that would shed light on the discrepancy in the number of dead from Monday’s crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.