It has been nearly 6 months since the fatal smoke Metro smoke incident near L’Enfant station resulted in the death of one victim and the hospitalization of dozens more passengers. In the time that has passed, federal investigators have been working to determine what caused the calamity and what steps can be taken to prevent similar tragedies from occurring. With newly released documents from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), new light is being shed on exactly what took place.
Earlier this month, the NTSB criticized Metro for its failures to protect power-cable connections from contaminants, critical communications breakdowns, and failures to properly respond to the emergency. Over several days of public hearings, the NTSB also unearthed first-person accounts from transcripts and interviews with transit workers involved in the incident that provide a disturbing picture of the consequences of Metro’s failures.
Some of the interviews released by the NTSB included:
- An interview with the operator of the Metro train caught in the smoke-filled tunnel. The train operator described a chaotic scene during which he pleaded with Metro controllers to back of the tunnel. He was told to “stand by” as passengers were yelling, screaming and kicking doors in a desperate attempt to escape the smoke-filled train.
- A controller with the Metro Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) told NTSB investigators she had attempted to stop another train approaching L’Enfant, but due to a communication breakdown, the operator did not hear the message.
- Interviews with transit workers who stated that Metro Transit Police evacuated a train at the southbound side of the station and attempted to move the train despite the fact that the operator was no longer on board.
The transcripts and interviews released by the NTSB reveal not only critical errors committed by Metro officials, but also the toll they had on the many victims and passengers who suffered physically and emotionally on the smoke-filled train. NTSB officials have stated that a final report on the incident will be released in early 2016.
The law firm represents many people who were injured as a result of Metro’s negligence. We will be closely monitoring the NTSB’s findings. If you, or anyone you know was injured as a result of the smoke filled train, please do not hesitate to call us. Our legal team is available to provide more information about this or any other Metro accident or train accident, as we have extensive experience in this field.