Rescue crews searched the mangled wreckage for victims Wednesday as investigators tried to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in a crash that killed at least seven people, injured more than 200 and plunged screaming passengers into darkness and chaos.
Investigators recovered the train's data recorders and said they expected them to yield crucial information, including how fast the train was going as it rounded a sharp curve and derailed in the city's working-class Port Richmond section shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Mayor Michael Nutter said some people remained unaccounted for, raising fears the death toll could rise, though he cautioned that some passengers listed on the Amtrak manifest might not have boarded the train, while others might not have checked in with authorities.
Train 188, a Northeast Regional, was en route from Washington to New York when it lurched to the right and fell off the tracks at a notorious curve not far from the scene of one of the nation's deadliest train wrecks more than 70 years ago.
The conductor survived and was expected to give a statement to police. The train also had a video camera in its front end that could yield clues to what happened, Sumwalt said.
The accident closed the nation's busiest rail corridor between New York and Washington as federal investigators arrived to begin examining the twisted wreckage, the tracks and the signals.
- Tom McDonald, reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia. He tweets @TMacDonaldWHYY.
This segment aired on May 13, 2015.