Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Derailed Amtrak Train Traveling 80 Mph in 30 Mph Curve

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Derailed Amtrak Train Traveling 80 Mph in 30 Mph Curve


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 20, 2017: The NTSB states that the derailed Amtrak train in Washington was traveling 50 mph over the posted speed limit, Michigan cities and counties target various companies in an opioid lawsuit, Minneapolis police shoot a man at City Hall, a tour bus crash in Mexico kills 5 Americans and a total of 12 people, holiday travel impacted by two separate weather systems, the Thomas Fire is now the second-largest in state history, prosecutors in Chattanooga allege that the driver of fatal school bus crash was speeding and using his cell phone, and European aviation authorities urge caution regarding the fire risk from lithium ion batteries.

  1. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has stated that when the Amtrak train derailed on Monday in Dupont, Washington, it was traveling 50 mph over the speed limit for the curve it was navigating--traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. Train cars were hurtled off the overpass onto Interstate 5 below, injuring at least 5 people in motor vehicles, and investigators have indicated that the emergency brake was not activated prior to the crash. A total of 86 people were onboard the derailed train including crew members, 13 train cars jumped the tracks, over 100 people were taken to area hospitals, including individuals in motor vehicles, and a total of three people died in the crash. The investigation into the incident is being conducted by the NTSB and is ongoing.
  2. Nine cities and counties in Michigan have filed lawsuits against a myriad of companies as a result of the ongoing opioid epidemic and it's overwhelming cost to taxpayers. The cities of Detroit, Escanaba, and Lansing, along with the counties of Chippewa, Delta, Genessee, Grand Traverse, Macomb, and Saginaw, have sued 21 drug companies, distributors and pharmacies, including Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Costco. The lawsuits allege that the addictiveness of prescription painkillers was misrepresented to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their use was pushed through doctors and pharmacies by big Pharma through funded campaigns.
  3. An armed man was shot by police inside a Minneapolis City Hall investigative room on Monday. Police were interviewing a man, left the room, and when they returned, the man was injuring himself with an edged weapon. According to the Police Chief, Medaria Arradondo, when officers were unable to subdue the individual, they were forced to discharge their weapons
  4. A tour bus traveling to the Chacchoben Ruins in the south Yucatan Peninsula, below Cancun, Mexico on Tuesday, crashed, killing 12 people on board, including 5 Americans. The bus passengers were reportedly from two Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and a total of 31 people were onboard the bus when it crashed, including the driver and a tour guide. Quintana Roo officials noted that multiple people were also injured and transferred to area hospitals, some with serious injuries, including head wounds. 
  5. Holiday travel is likely to be hazardous for a number of states as two storm systems make their way across the country, one bringing several feet of snow and the other, damaging winds and heavy rains. The colder system is affecting Washington State and blanketing it with heavy snowfall, and will continue to impact travel in the area through the end of the week. The other system is dropping , where rapid rainfall over a short time period has resulted in a link.
  6. The Thomas Fire in California has moved into the slot of the second largest wildfire in the state's history, consuming 422 square miles--or--272,000 acres--as of Tuesday evening. Firefighters took advantage of a brief reprieve from strong winds to try to gain control of the massive blaze, attaining 55 percent containment. However, the return of stronger, gustier sundowner winds on Wednesday and Thursday will create crucial fire conditions for southern Santa Barbara County, along the western side of the wildfire.
  7. Prosecutors in Chattanooga, Tennessee are alleging that six elementary school children are dead because the bus driver, 25-year-old Johnthony Walker, was on his cell phone and speeding when the bus he was driving crashed. The crash occurred in November of 2016 on a curvy road, and a total of 37 children were onboard the school bus. Walker, who is out on bail--but forbidden to drive motor vehicles--faces 34 charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide
  8. European aviation authorities are cautioning airlines to remind passengers about the dangers of transporting electronics with lithium ion batteries in the baggage hold of the airplane. Concerns the batteries could ignite and start a fire in the hold of the aircraft, where it could not be easily extinguished, are at the center of their concern. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is urging a checked bag laptop ban for travelers due to the fire risk posed by the batteries. Lithium ion batteries can be found in devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and electronic cigarettes.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.