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NTSB investigating Norfolk Southern train crash in Northampton County

NTSB plans to release preliminary report on Norfolk Southern train crash in 3 weeks
NTSB plans to release preliminary report on Norfolk Southern train crash in 3 weeks 00:42

LOWER SAUCON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into the Norfolk Southern train derailment near Easton, Pennsylvania, from Saturday. They arrived at the scene Saturday afternoon and plan to release a preliminary report in three weeks, the NTSB said. 

The team has already begun reviewing data from the trains' event recorders and other evidence and has collected some information to send to Washington, D.C., to be analyzed. The investigators also examined the derailed cars and other train equipment, according to the NTSB.

Investigators are expected to work at the site for several more days, speaking with crew members and gathering other information to determine what caused the crash. Although they are still collecting evidence, NTSB officials said they have released the site so Norfolk Southern can begin to move the cars and repair the tracks. 

Norfolk Southern train derailment cleanup along Lehigh River: aerial video by CBS Philadelphia on YouTube

Three trains were involved in the derailment, which spilled diesel fuel and plastic pellets along the Lehigh River, officials said.

NTSB officials said Saturday preliminary information showed an eastbound Norfolk Southern train struck a still train on the same track. The wreckage from the striking train then spilled onto an adjacent track and was subsequently struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern train, NTSB officials said. The crash led to the derailment of an "unknown number of cars," NTSB told CBS News Philadelphia.

The next update from the NTSB will come in a preliminary report in three weeks. That will be available in the NTSB's investigations database. The final report, expected in one to two years, will detail the probable cause of the crash, according to the NTSB. 

Officials said there was no danger to the public from the derailment or the spills and no evacuation orders were in effect. There are no reported injuries.

Other Norfolk Southern derailments

Norfolk Southern has come under fire in the past year over multiple train derailments, the most notable in East Palestine, Ohio, when 38 cars of a 151-car train carrying hazardous materials derailed and 12 others caught fire. Since then, residents of the eastern Ohio town have reported health problems and there have also been wildlife deaths.

There was also a derailment on April 8 in Pittsburgh and another on May 10 in New Castle, Ohio.

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