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Amtrak engineer was not using phone at time of Philadelphia crash

 The NTSB has found that Brandon Bostian (left via NBC10/LinkedIn) the engineer driving an Amtrak train was not using his cellphone in the moments before the train derailed in Philadelphia last month. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

The NTSB has found that Brandon Bostian (left via NBC10/LinkedIn) the engineer driving an Amtrak train was not using his cellphone in the moments before the train derailed in Philadelphia last month. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

The engineer driving the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia last month was not using his cell phone at the time of the accident. 

That finding comes as part of the National Transportation Safety Board’s latest update on its investigation into the derailment that killed eight people and injured 200 more.

The NTSB’s Peter Knudson says the engineer gave investigators his cell phone passcode, which allowed them to access his data without having to go through the phone manufacturer.

Knudson says the phone was either in airplane mode, or powered off, since no data was used and it didn’t access the train’s WiFi net work.

“Analysis of the phone records does not indicate that any calls, texts, or data usage occurred during the time the engineer was operating the train,” he said. “Amtrak’s records confirm that the engineer did not access the train’s Wi-Fi system while he was operating the locomotive.”

Investigators say the train sped up to 106 miles per hour shortly before taking a tight curve in the track, where the speed limit is 50 mph.

The engineer slammed on the brakes, though the train was still barreling ahead at 100 miles per hour when it flew off the tracks.

The engineer told investigators he does not remember what happened.

Investigators in the NTSB laboratory have been pouring over the phone’s operating system for additional clues. They will be getting a phone similar to the engineer’s and running additional tests to confirm their finding.

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