PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released its preliminary report on the train derailment that took out a portion of the Salt River Bridge in Tempe on July 29. According to the report, no criminal activity was found by the FBI. The agency also determined that the train was going 23 mph at the time of the derailment. Damage is estimated at between $8 million and $10 million.
The accident happened shortly after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, sparking a massive fire on the bridge. Sky Harbor International Airport diverted air traffic because of the thick black smoke pumped out by the fire.
That wreck was the second derailment in that area in less than a month.
According to the NTSB report, the Union Pacific train was more nearly 7,000 feet long (about 1.3 miles) and comprised of three locomotives and 97 mixed-freight cars. Eight of those cars were empty. It was the 49th car that derailed. A total of 12 cars went off the track. Three of the tanks were loaded with hazardous cargo. Two of them fell off the trestle and leaked.
One emergency responder suffered smoke inhalation but no other injuries were reported.
The NTSB has not determined the cause of the derailment and is continuing its investigation, including looking at the train's event recorder and video captured by a front-facing camera.
Union Pacific, which is responsible for maintaining the Salt River Bridge, demolished the damaged portion of the damaged bridge the weekend after the crash. It had trains rolling again within two weeks.
NTSB issues preliminary report Thursday, for its investigation of the July 29, 2020, Tempe, AZ, Union Pacific train derailment, hazardous materials release and fire: https://t.co/1BnpEqZuP3— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) September 10, 2020
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