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Train in Deadly Amtrak Derailment Sped Up for Full Minute Before Crash: NTSB

Eight people were killed and more than 200 people were hospitalized after Amtrak train 188 derailed near Philadelphia Tuesday night.

The Amtrak train which crashed in Philadelphia Tuesday night sped up in the last minute before it derailed at a sharp bend, the lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

Sumwalt said investigators were able to look at the track image recorder mounted on the front of the train, which showed the train was traveling 70 mph 65 seconds before the video went dark.

Sixteen seconds before the crash, the train had increased speed to 100 mph, soon reaching 106 mph right before entering a 50 mph section, Sumwalt said.

[NATL] Dramatic Images: Amtrak Train Derails in Philadelphia

At this point investigators don’t know if the speed increases were done manually, Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt said inspection records show no anomalies with the track, signals or train itself.

The latest update on the investigation comes as an Amtrak employee filed the first lawsuit in connection with the derailment, which killed eight people and injured over 200 others.

All of the eight victims killed in the Amtrak train derailment have been identified. 

The body of Bob Gildersleeve, Jr. was found in the wreckage of the Amtrak train that careened off the tracks in Philadelphia, officials confirmed Thursday, bringing the death toll from the crash to eight.

The confirmation came as large cranes worked overnight and into the morning to move damaged Amtrak cars and debris from the site of the wreck. Bob Gildersleeve, Jr., a father of two, missing since Tuesday, was identified as the latest victim.  Ecolab, the company Gildersleeve worked for, confirmed it was him Thursday afternoon. 

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague," Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said in a statement.

The family of 47-year-old Laura Finamore of Douglaston, New York also confirmed Thursday afternoon that she was one of the eight victims.

"Laura was an incredibly loving and giving person, touching many people each and every day through her generous spirit, thoughtfulness and compassion for others. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her," her family said. 

The Ambassador to Italy to the United States also confirmed that Giuseppe Piras, an Italian national, was one of the eight victims. 

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said all people who were on the train have now been accounted for. Forty-three people remained hospitalized as of Thursday. 

President Obama, speaking at Camp David on Thursday, expressed his "deepest condolences to the families of those who died" in the train derailment and thanked "first responders who raced to save lives and their heroic efforts to get passengers to safety.”

"We are a growing country with a growing economy. We need to invest in the infrastructure that keeps us that way," Obama said a day after a Republican-controlled House panel approved deep spending cuts to Amtrak's budget.

Investigators are continuing to probe what happened before the speeding train jetted off the tracks. Information from the train's black box already points to excessive speed as the cause of the crash. The engine and seven cars barreled into a curve at 106 MPH, more than twice the 50 MPH speed limit, Sumwalt revealed Wednesday. Sumwalt said engineer Brandon Bostian applied the emergency brake seconds before the train vibrated violently and hurled off the tracks, killing eight and injuring more than 200 people.

"It happened very, very suddenly. They didn't really know what happened," Dr. Herbert Cushman of Temple Hospital, who heard stories from the critically and walking wounded, said Thursday. 

The National Transportation and Safety Board released video of its preliminary investigation into a deadly Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia. The investigative agency also confirmed the train was traveling faster than 100 miles per hour before it hurled off the tracks around a curve in Northeast Philly.

The Amtrak Regional 188 Train from Washington, D.C., had arrived at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday and was continuing toward its destination of Penn Station in New York City before the wreck. Several patients told Cushing they were trying to doze off when "their world was overturned."

"People were hurled violently," Cushing said. "Things, people fell on them."

Former Pa. Congressman Patrick Murphy was on the Amtrak train that derailed in Port Richmond.

Passengers in the front cars suffered the worst injuries. Sixteen patients remained at Temple Thursday morning, ranging in age from 19 to 80. Cushing expected all to recover fully from their injuries which were primarily to the upper body — rib cages, chests and lungs.

Gildersleeve's 71-year-old father was angry when he learned the NTSB said the accident could have been prevented if a safety system installed on other tracks around the country had been in use in Philadelphia. A December deadline looms for finishing the installation throughout the U.S. 

"Had this system been installed the accident would not have happened," Sumwalt with the NTSB said Wednesday.

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NTSB investigators will likely remain at the scene for at least a week, Sumwalt said.

"Our mission is to find out not only what happened but why it happened so that we can prevent it from happening again," he said at a briefing Wednesday. "We're not here on scene to determine the cause of the accident. We're not going to speculate. Our purpose for being here is to collect perishable evidence which is information that will go away with the passage of time."

The engineer, 32-year-old Brandon Bostian of Queens, New York was released from the hospital and interviewed by police Wednesday. Investigators said he turned over his cellphone and gave a blood sample.

Bostian's attorney said late Wednesday his client does not remember what happened just before the crash. "He remembers driving the train, he remembers going to that area generally, has absolutely no recollection of the incident or anything unusual," attorney Robert Goggin told ABC's "Nightline."

During a press conference Thursday, Sumwalt revealed Bostian agreed to undergo an interview with the NTSB which will take place in the next few days. 

The death toll rose to eight Thursday morning, when cadaver dogs working the scene discovered Gildersleeve's body in the wreckage, according to Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer. Along with Gildersleeve, Piras, and Finamore, the victims killed in the crash include Rachel Jacobs, the CEO of a Philadelphia tech company; Justin Zemser, a 20-year-old midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy; Jim Gaines, a video software engineer for The Associated Press; Abid Gilani, a Wells Fargo employee; and Derrick Griffith, the acting dean of students at Medgar Evers College. 

Service on the nation's busiest rail corridor between New York and Washington remained hampered Thursday with modified Amtrak service with fewer frequencies than normal provided between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia and New York and Boston. Amtrak service will operate as scheduled between New York and Boston Friday while modified service between Washington and Philly will continue through Monday. CLICK HERE for more information.

Tuesday’s deadly train derailment is causing problems for passengers at both 30th Street Station in Philly and Penn Station in New York. NBC10’s Randy Gyllenhaal has the details.

The derailment occurred at almost the exact same location of another deadly derailment 71 years ago. On Sept. 6, 1943, a Congressional Limited careened off the tracks with 541 passengers onboard, including many service members on leave. Seventy-nine passengers were killed and 117 were injured.

NOTE: Those trying to contact passengers on the train should call the Amtrak Hotline at 1-800-523-9101. Passengers who were on the train and are doing well should also call the hotline to report their status.

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