U.S.

NY Train Engineer Nodded Off Moments Before Crash

Investigators say the train's engineer nodded off or went into a daze just moments before the train carrying 150 passengers derailed.

NY Train Engineer Nodded Off Moments Before Crash
CNN
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As the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, continues to investigate Sunday's deadly New York train derailment, the agency has learned the train's engineer lost focus moments before the train went off the tracks. 

"Human error. William 'Billy' Rockefeller's daze increasingly the probable cause. His union representative saying he was 'nodding off' and caught himself too late." (Via CNN)

The New York Times reports Rockefeller, a 46-year-old veteran engineer, admitted to several people that he wasn't fully attentive before the train wreck. Union Representative Anthony Bottalico described it as "highway hypnosis" or zoning out.

Investigators say the seven-car Metro-North train was going 82 mph around a 30 mph curve before it left the rails. Four people died and dozens of passengers were injured. (Via WNBC)

Rockefeller initially said the brakes malfunctioned. The NTSB has not yet placed blame but has begun to rule out mechanical and equipment issues, such as brake failure and problems with the tracks. (Via WABC)

Investigators say Rockefeller's alcohol tests came back negative but a more thorough review of his cell phone usage is still underway. He's currently on leave without pay.

In the meantime, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, crews have begun repairing the tracks near the site of the derailment. According to WCBS, MTA officials say partial service to those tracks should be restored Wednesday.