WORKERS REMOVE LAST AMTRAK CAR FROM SWAMP, FIND 2ND BLACK BOX

WORKERS REMOVE LAST AMTRAK CAR FROM SWAMP, FIND 2ND BLACK BOX

Work crews raised the last of seven submerged Amtrak cars Sunday from the Alabama swamp where 47 passengers and crew drowned in the rail line's worst accident, the Coast Guard said.

The last locomotive was loaded onto a barge at about 5 P.M. local time, Sunday evening, said Lt. Barry Arnold, a Coast Guard spokesman.Investigators also recovered a second "black box," from one of the Amtrak Sunset Limited locomotives Sunday, Lt. Arnold said.

The first "black box" data recorder was recovered Saturday from the lead locomotive, he said. Both were turned over to National Transportation Safety Board investigators who hope the recorders can provide valuable information about the train's speed and track conditions during Wednesday's fatal accident.

Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena has directed the Coast Guard to review several marine safety issues as a result of the derailment.

The process includes assessing requirements for licensing towboat operators, reviewing the history of incidents that involved licensed towboat operations and looking into requirements for reporting accidents involving navigation aids. Minutes before the train went into the water, the captain of the towboat Mauvilla radioed the Coast Guard to say he was lost and had struck the bridge.

The train was traveling about 70 mph when it crossed the Mobile River Bridge, which had been weakened when a runaway barge collided with a trestle moments earlier.

The bridge gave way, plunging three locomotives and four passenger cars into the muddy bayou.

Amtrak said 47 passengers and crewmembers drowned and 163 passengers and crew survived the crash.

It was the worst accident in Amtrak's 22-year history and the worst in the United States since 45 people died when two trains collided near Chicago in 1972.