Transportation Security Board Releases Preliminary Report on Ohio Train Derailment

The National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) has released its initial report on the derailment of a Norfolk Southern Railway train carrying hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb 3, Reuters reports.

The preliminary report tentatively supports initial reports suggesting that a wheel bearing is to blame for the catastrophe after it severely overheated before the accident occurred.

According to the NTSB’s preliminary report, investigators analyzed the first car to derail as well as local surveillance cameras and signal data.

The surveillance footage from a nearby residence showed that a wheel bearing was in late-stage overheat failure immediately ahead of the accident.

The report also stated that the train had passed through several hot bearing detectors (HBDs) at the time of the accident.

By the third HBD, the temperature was 253 degrees above average, which meets Norfolk Southern’s criteria for “critical.”

The train applied brakes at that point, but was unable to stop.

The derailment involved 38 cars, some of which were carrying vinyl chloride, a hazardous substance used in the production of plastics.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan have both recommended that residents drink bottled water, although officials have stated that drinking water in the area is safe.

NTSB investigators have taken possession of the wheel bearing in question and the affected wheel mechanism.

The investigation is still ongoing and will examine the design of the vinyl chloride tank cars and the derailment damage.

It will also analyze the immediate response, in which first responders burned the five vinyl chloride tank cars to prevent a possible explosion.

The NTSB has emphasized that the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for potential environmental hazards.