Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Cosmo » Thu May 25, 2017 2:58 am

ryanov wrote:As someone who has read as many complete NTSB reports as I have (including this one), I'm surprised not to remember the answer to this question, but isn't it quite uncommon in an air accident for anyone to be charged, even if it is a clear mistake made by the crew? Isn't that part of the way these cases are investigated -- generally eschewing blame so that the truth can be found so as to prevent future similar accidents? Seems unusual to me to attempt criminal charges. Maybe much rarer in an air accident that the crew survives? I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.

You realy need to see "SULLY"... I think it'll answer all your questions re: NTSB investigations.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby ryanov » Thu May 25, 2017 9:30 am

I hope you're not getting your information about the NTSB from a movie portrayal. That is one reason that I ask the question in the first place – that is not how NTSB investigations go, but also I thought, generally, not how the rest of these accident investigations go either. It wasn't a bad movie, but it manufactured drama in order to make the movie see more interesting. There wasn't otherwise any conflict to be found in the situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... ly/499247/
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby n2cbo » Thu May 25, 2017 9:56 am

ryanov wrote: I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.


But what about the Conductor? Isn't he/she in charge of the train? One may ask why didn't the conductor dump the air if they were going too fast for the curve? They are also qualified on the track as well as the engineer, are they not? Are they not as responsible as the engineer for the safe operation of the train?...

Just playing devil's advocate here...
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Greg Moore » Thu May 25, 2017 10:08 am

Let's just say that Captain Sullenberger himself was so unhappy with the portrayal of the NTSB investigators in the movie that he asked they use fictitious names.

And keep in mind, the NTSB is not a regulatory or enforcement agency. It's an investigative board.

It can make recommendations, but not actually cause anything to happen.

Overall, from my readings on them, they're actually a fairly successful government agency and fairly non-biased.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Ken W2KB » Thu May 25, 2017 11:13 am

ryanov wrote:As someone who has read as many complete NTSB reports as I have (including this one), I'm surprised not to remember the answer to this question, but isn't it quite uncommon in an air accident for anyone to be charged, even if it is a clear mistake made by the crew? Isn't that part of the way these cases are investigated -- generally eschewing blame so that the truth can be found so as to prevent future similar accidents? Seems unusual to me to attempt criminal charges. Maybe much rarer in an air accident that the crew survives? I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.


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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby electricron » Thu May 25, 2017 12:06 pm

ryanov wrote:I hope you're not getting your information about the NTSB from a movie portrayal. That is one reason that I ask the question in the first place – that is not how NTSB investigations go, but also I thought, generally, not how the rest of these accident investigations go either. It wasn't a bad movie, but it manufactured drama in order to make the movie see more interesting. There wasn't otherwise any conflict to be found in the situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... ly/499247/


I agree! The real west, real rural life, real urban life, real military life, and real cop life aren't anywhere close to what you see deplicted in movies. Fictional works are make believe - the real fake news if there ever was.

Webster on Fiction: 1a: something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Cosmo » Thu May 25, 2017 12:19 pm

ryanov wrote:I hope you're not getting your information about the NTSB from a movie portrayal. That is one reason that I ask the question in the first place – that is not how NTSB investigations go, but also I thought, generally, not how the rest of these accident investigations go either. It wasn't a bad movie, but it manufactured drama in order to make the movie see more interesting. There wasn't otherwise any conflict to be found in the situation.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... ly/499247/

No, no, no, no.... I had a pretty good idea BEFORE the movie.
It IS one of the better examples and the script was taken pretty much from the NTSB transcripts. BUT.... they were looking SERIOUSLY at the Captain for culpability is my major point.
I won't go into the details, either see it or don't.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby cobra30689 » Thu May 25, 2017 1:57 pm

n2cbo wrote:
ryanov wrote: I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.


But what about the Conductor? Isn't he/she in charge of the train? One may ask why didn't the conductor dump the air if they were going too fast for the curve? They are also qualified on the track as well as the engineer, are they not? Are they not as responsible as the engineer for the safe operation of the train?...

Just playing devil's advocate here...



Valid argument on a freight train, or any train with multiple people in the cab. Test...throw a blanket over your windshield, and try to navigate a busy highway at speed, at night looking ONLY through a side window. I won't even add the other layers of distraction (aka ticket lifting, passenger interaction, etc.). Of course the operating rules like to place a passenger conductor in the same boat of responsibility as the engineer (especially on host freight railroads), and I have seen discipline handed out equally for a violation that no NORMAL human being could argue the conductor could have done anything to stop, but this is the railroad. Nothing is normal.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby mmi16 » Thu May 25, 2017 10:11 pm

n2cbo wrote:
ryanov wrote: I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.


But what about the Conductor? Isn't he/she in charge of the train? One may ask why didn't the conductor dump the air if they were going too fast for the curve? They are also qualified on the track as well as the engineer, are they not? Are they not as responsible as the engineer for the safe operation of the train?...

Just playing devil's advocate here...


Remember, the Engineer's inattention is suspected to be about 26 seconds - the time it took the train to accelerate from 80 to 106 MPH and then the Engineer applied the emergency brakes, instead of applying the train brakes and slowing from 80 to 50 MPH for the curve.

26 seconds is a very short time for someone on the train and not in the engine to deduce something is wrong and then take action.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby justalurker66 » Thu May 25, 2017 10:32 pm

ryanov wrote:As someone who has read as many complete NTSB reports as I have (including this one), I'm surprised not to remember the answer to this question, but isn't it quite uncommon in an air accident for anyone to be charged, even if it is a clear mistake made by the crew? Isn't that part of the way these cases are investigated -- generally eschewing blame so that the truth can be found so as to prevent future similar accidents? Seems unusual to me to attempt criminal charges. Maybe much rarer in an air accident that the crew survives? I guess in this case, too, there is only one engineer, so it is more possible to pin the blame on one person.

The NTSB is not responsible for charges, civil or criminal. They investigate incidents and give recommendations as to how such an incident could be avoided. They are not afraid to assign blame ... I have read NTSB reports that affix blame to named individuals as well as to the airlines/railroad companies. But they are not prosecutors so they do not turn their results into charges.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby AgentSkelly » Sun May 28, 2017 2:18 am

justalurker66 wrote:The NTSB is not responsible for charges, civil or criminal. They investigate incidents and give recommendations as to how such an incident could be avoided. They are not afraid to assign blame ... I have read NTSB reports that affix blame to named individuals as well as to the airlines/railroad companies. But they are not prosecutors so they do not turn their results into charges.


Oh, they in one air accident report I have read blamed the USAF!
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby merrick1 » Sun May 28, 2017 7:15 pm

justalurker66 wrote: I have read NTSB reports that affix blame to named individuals as well as to the airlines/railroad companies. But they are not prosecutors so they do not turn their results into charges.


Isn't it pretty rare for the NTSB to name individuals in their reports, even if the person is well known? For example, although JFK Jr. was mentioned by name in NTSB press releases the actual report just referred to "the pilot."
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Literalman » Mon May 29, 2017 6:51 pm

Last year the Fredericksburg, Va. Free Lance-Star newspaper printed a letter from Robert Benzon of Stafford, Va. Regarding Sully, "The scenes depicting the pilot interviews and our public hearing are almost wholly inaccurate, downright ludicrous, and frankly insulting to me and my compatriots at the NTSB.… I was the NTSB investigator-in-charge of the US Airways Flight 1549."

You can read the whole letter (not very long) at http://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-portrayal-of-ntsb-probe-inaccurate-in-sully/article_2c6d9b73-a9aa-5bf2-a890-7e81f1a38d06.html
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby Silverliner II » Mon May 29, 2017 9:06 pm

I want to see the movie, but I read the book Sully wrote himself first, last year. If anything, the book would be THE most accurate depiction of the crash and aftermath, short of actually being there and being at the hearings or investigation.
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Re: Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

Postby justalurker66 » Mon May 29, 2017 11:44 pm

merrick1 wrote:
justalurker66 wrote: I have read NTSB reports that affix blame to named individuals as well as to the airlines/railroad companies. But they are not prosecutors so they do not turn their results into charges.

Isn't it pretty rare for the NTSB to name individuals in their reports, even if the person is well known? For example, although JFK Jr. was mentioned by name in NTSB press releases the actual report just referred to "the pilot."

Mr K's name should appear somewhere in that report identifying him as the pilot. It is possible to omit names. But I have seen reports with named individuals and affixed blame. I would not consider it rare but would not expect the names to be used throughout the report unless needed to make the report unambiguous as to whom did what.

That being said, most of the reports I recall seem to blame companies for allowing or encouraging any defective behavior that caused an incident. For example, a signal maintainer who disables a crossing gate and causes a collision may not get blamed while the employing railroad would receive rebuke for failure to train or equip or whatever could have prevented such in incident. If no fault could be found in training or supervision the employee would receive the rebuke.

In recent years the NTSB has been so focused on PTC that the lack of PTC has become the cause for many rail incidents. Even those that were clearly employee error.
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