NTSB: Amtrak engineer applied emergency brakes; train traveling 106 mph in 50 mph curve

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of a New York woman who was head of a Philadelphia educational software startup has confirmed that she was one of seven people killed in the derailment of an Amtrak train.

Rachel Jacobs’ family called her death “an unthinkable tragedy” and said in a statement it “cannot imagine life without her.”

The 39-year-old mother of two and ApprenNet CEO had been traveling home to New York.

Jacobs previously worked at McGraw-Hill, leading the expansion of the company’s career-learning business into China, India and the Middle East. She also worked at Ascend Learning, another education technology firm.

Her family called her “a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend.”

Also killed was a Wells Fargo senior vice president.

Company spokeswoman Elise Wilkinson confirmed Abid Gilani’s death.

According to his LinkedIn page, Gilani had been with Wells Fargo in New York about a year.

Earlier, a National Transportation Safety Board official says the engineer applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said Wednesday that the train was traveling at 106 mph when the engineer hit the brakes Tuesday night.

The derailment took place as the train entered a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph. The speed limit on the track just prior to the curve is 70 mph.

The accident closed the nation’s busiest rail corridor between New York and Washington.

The crash killed seven people and injured about 200 others in Philadelphia.

The dead included an employee of The Associated Press and a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Philadelphia police officials say the engineer declined provide a statement to investigators.

They say the engineer also had an attorney when he left a meeting with investigators. The engineer has not yet been identified.





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