Amtrak derailed killing at least three on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Derailments are uncommon today, and rarely cause more than minor injuries, but here the engine of the Amtrak train, which had been carrying eight crew members and 139 passengers on its route from New York to Miami, was “barely recognizable, ” according to Governor Henry McMaster.
The Lexington County coroner, Margaret Fisher, identified the dead as two Amtrak employees train’s 54-year-old engineer, Michael Kempf, of Savannah, Georgia, & the conductor, Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Fla. Both men were in the first car of the train.
Dozens of passengers were taken to a nearby middle school, where the American Red Cross set up a temporary shelter and passengers tried to make sense of what had happened aboard Train 91 at about 2:35 a.m. on Sunday. At a news conference Robert L. Sumwalt, the current N.T.S.B. chairman, ruled out foul play.
General Mark V. Rosenker, a former chairman of the N.T.S.B,1, said Sunday’s accident hinted at a “lack of safety culture” at Amtrak. Rosenker suspected that Sunday’s crash involved some discrepancy in the way CSX communicates with Amtrak.2
On July 23, 2019, The National Transportation Safety Board determined that Amtrak’s and CSX Transportation did not properly assess or mitigate the risk of conducting switching operations during a signal suspension — the signal system was down. And far worse, the failure of the CSX conductor to realign the switch (man error).