Federal investigators pulled one of the black-box recorders from the wrecked commuter train at the Hoboken station and struggled to extract the second one Friday, as they tried to figure out what caused the crash Thursday morning that killed one person and injured more than 100 others.
The two event recorders could contain information on speed, braking and other conditions that can help investigators determine whether the tragedy resulted from an equipment malfunction or a distracted or incapacitated engineer.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be looking to determine how fast the train was going when it crashed at the busy station. They hope to speak to the train’s injured engineer on Friday, NTSB Vice Chairman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr said. State officials say he has been cooperating.
The investigation will seek to answer many questions, including whether a system designed to prevent accidents by overriding the engineer and automatically slowing or stopping trains that are going too fast could have helped if it had been installed on the line.
Investigators recovered an event recorder from the locomotive Thursday night and will be examining it Friday, Dinh-Zarr said Friday on ABC. The device contains information on the train’s speed and braking.
But investigators are struggling to extract a recorder from the forward-facing camera on the train without damaging it, the NTSB said Friday. That recorder should show what was ahead of the train before it crashed.
More than 100,000 people use New Jersey Transit to commute from New Jersey to New York City each day. New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, whose district includes Hoboken, told Hamodia that tens of thousands of passengers use the Hoboken station daily.
The NJ Transit portion of the Hoboken station remained closed Friday, slowing the morning commute for those making connections there. The PATH portion was open.
As investigators began their probe, the family of Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, the crash’s sole fatality, was in mourning. De Kroon had recently moved to New Jersey from Brazil after her husband got a job with an international liquor company.
She had just dropped her toddler daughter off at day care before rushing to catch a train, according to day-care director Karlos Magner.
Shortly thereafter, the NJ Transit train ran off the end of the track as it was pulling in at around 8:45 a.m., smashing through a concrete-and-steel bumper. As it ground to a halt in the waiting area, it knocked out pillars, collapsing a section of the roof.
De Kroon was killed by debris, and 108 others were injured, mostly on the train, Gov. Chris Christie said. Scores were hospitalized, some with serious injuries including broken bones.