NTSB probe trying to determine if Amtrak engineer was using phone

 An Amtrak train travels north from 30th Street Station Monday in Philadelphia. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains resumed service Monday following last week's deadly derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

An Amtrak train travels north from 30th Street Station Monday in Philadelphia. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains resumed service Monday following last week's deadly derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

Federal investigators have determined that the engineer of the Amtrak 188 used his cell phone the day of the deadly derailment in Philadelphia.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Wednesday that its investigation found that the engineer made calls and texts the day of the accident.

Investigators have not yet figured out whether the phone was used during the trip.

As investigators pore over the cell phone records of 32-year-old Brandon Bostian of Queens, some wonder whether he was distracted before the train barreled into a tight curve and off the tracks, killing eight people and leaving hundreds of others injured.

The NTSB, which says it’s connecting the dots between cell phone records, black box recordings and radio communications, said completing that task is a lengthy process.

Bostian’s attorney has said that the engineer suffered a concussion as a result of the derailment and that he doesn’t recall anything  specific about the events leading up to it. 

Furthermore, the attorney maintains that Bostian’s cell phone was turned off and in a bag stowed away at the time of the derailment, something required by federal regulations.

Federal transportation officials say whether that’s true should soon be revealed as the investigation continues.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.