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Engineer of derailed Amtrak train identified as Forest Hills man

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Photo via LinkedIn

Updated Thursday, May 14, 12:25 p.m. 

A 32-year-old Forest Hills resident has been identified as the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, leaving eight people dead, including a naval midshipman from Rockaway Beach, reports said.

Brandon Bostian was at the controls of the train, headed from Washington D.C. to New York City, when it went off the tracks about 9:30 p.m. in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia, according to published reports.

In addition to the seven confirmed dead, more than 200 people were wounded, including the train’s engineer and conductor.

According to ABC News, after being treated at the hospital, Bostian was released and taken to the Philadelphia Police Department. He later declined to give police a formal statement and asked for a lawyer, which he has since hired.

His attorney told ABC News that Bostian, who suffered a concussion and head injury that required 14 staples, only recalls heading to the crash area and getting tossed around before coming to. He added that his client spoke to police for at least five hours and would be available to answer more questions. The attorney also said that Bostian told him he was on no medications and had “no health issues” before the derailment.

According to Philadelphia’s NBC10, Bostian handed over his cellphone to detectives and gave a blood sample. After interviewing  him on Wednesday, police are expected to do so again in the future.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reportedly has not yet met with him, but want to give him a day or so to get over the traumatic event.

Bostian, according to his LinkedIn profile, has worked for Amtrak since 2006, first as a conductor, then as an engineer starting in 2010. His work as an Amtrak engineer included as stint on Caltrain in the Bay area between 2010 and 2011, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Before joining Amtrak, Bostian worked as a cashier at Target, his profile said, and graduated in 2006 from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The NTSB confirmed Wednesday the train was traveling at more than 100 mph, double the speed limit, as it was entering a sharp curve before derailing. Before entering the curve, the speed limit is reportedly 70 mph.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt also said Wednesday that the engineer applied full emergency brakes “just moments” before the derailment, CNN reported.

Among the confirmed deaths in the Tuesday derailment was 20-year-old Rockaway Beach resident Justin Zemser. The United States Naval Academy cadet was traveling home when he was killed.

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