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March 10, 2016

NTSB report details injuries sustained in Amtrak 188 crash

Passengers were treated for fractures to skulls, spines, other bones, as well as cracked teeth and a ruptured bladder

The National Transportation Safety Board updated its investigative docket of the Amtrak 188 derailment on Thursday, adding a report that details the injuries sustained by occupants of the train.

There were more than 250 passengers and crew onboard the the train when it derailed at Frankford Junction, along a stretch of track in Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood, on May 12. The train traveled into a curve at 106 mph, more than double the permitted 50 mph speed.

According to data released Thursday, the NTSB obtained medical records for 172 passengers, including the eight who died and eight others walked away from the crash with no injuries.

The following table details the severity of injuries and number of passengers injured, according to the NTSB's records.

Severity Number Percent
Fatal 8 4.6
Serious 43 25.0
Minor 113 65.7
None 8 4.7
Total 172 100.0

The NTSB released its investigative docket on Feb. 1. The trove included more than 2,000 pages of documents, including a pair of interviews investigators conducted with Amtrak Engineer Brandon Bostian. The NTSB will use the information contained in the docket to determine the cause of the crash – a conclusion that is not expected for months.

The new documents included a car-by-car medical assessment based on a review of medical treatment and autopsy records for the passengers made available to the NTSB. The following table shows injuries suffered, and the severity of those injuries, by passengers in each of Amtrak 188's seven passenger cars and locomotive.

Train Car Fatal Serious Minor None Total
Locomotive 0 0 1 0 1
1 3 7 1 0 11
2 0 5 6 1 12
2 or 3 0 0 1 0 1
3 0 3 12 0 15
3 or 4 0 0 2 0 2
4 0 1 6 1 8
4 or 5 0 0 1 0 1
5 0 2 8 0 10
5 or 6 0 0 2 0 2
6 0 1 7 0 8
6 or 7 0 0 3 0 3
7 0 3 14 0 17
Unknown 5 21 49 6 81
Total 8 43 113 8 172

The new data shows that nearly 600 total injuries were suffered, with many passengers suffering multiple injuries. The report also listed the hospitals where passengers were treated.

Hospital Fatal Serious Minor None Total
0 1 14 0 15
0 4 18 3 25
Einstein 0 2 5 0 7
Episcopal 0 0 10 0 10
Hahnemann 0 11 17 3 31
Holy Redeemer 0 0 5 0 5
HUP 0 0 3 0 3
Jefferson 0 8 14 2 24
0 2* 0 0 2
Temple 1 15* 27 0 43
Total 1 43 113 8 165

*Two people at Penn Presbyterian and one person treated at Temple were initially seen at another emergency department and transferred.

Attorney Tom Kline released a statement Thursday saying the new data "underscores the horror and magnitude" of the crash. His law firm, Kline and Specter, is representing 12 victims, including two death claims – for passengers Rachel Jacobs and Bob Gildersleeve.

“While the medical reporting focuses on derailment-caused physical injuries, it is important to note that there were also countless subsequent surgeries, continuing, grueling physical rehabilitation, and the endless emotional and psychological trauma suffered by the victims," Kline said. "The astonishing degree of injury-related detail released reaffirms our quest for answers – from Amtrak and Engineer Brandon Bostian – and justice for our clients.”


The NTSB's Injury Group Chairman Report, released Thursday, looked at available medical records to paint a picture of the scope of injuries suffered by the passengers and crew in the crash of Amtrak 188.

The eight fatal victims suffered various combinations of vital organ lacerations, abrasions, hematoma and fractures to the skull, ribs, spine and other bones.

The 164 surviving occupants suffered a total of 597 separate injuries.

Twenty-three people suffered head injuries, and all had negative CT scans. The remainder of the head and neck injuries included cervical strains, concussions, head injuries with headaches and one linear skull fracture. Eight people sustained fractures to the spine. One other had a cervical and spinal cord injuries. No survivors had any significant intracranial bleeding or swelling.

Injuries to the face consisted mostly of nose and teeth fractures. One rider had a corneal abrasion of the eye and another had a sinus fracture.

Twenty-four survivors suffered serious chest injuries, including nine with contusions of the lung, 15 with multiple rib fractures and one with a fractured sternum. Two lung lacerations and a ruptured diaphragm were also reported. Ten people suffered a total of 21 fractures to vertebrae. Another occupant was diagnosed with bruised ribs and another with a bruised sternum.

Among the injuries to the abdominal and pelvic areas were 22 lumbar spine fractures, including 21 vertebrae fractures and a single 30 percent compression fracture of a vertebra. In addition, there was one ruptured bladder, one bruised liver, three lacerated spleens, two kidney injuries, three bowel injuries and a lumbar strain.

The extremity and pelvic injuries were primarily fractures and dislocations, some of which were open. Other injuries included acute fractures to the pelvis, two fractures of the ankle, one of them open, and two fractured femurs.

Overall, 43 victims fractured at least one bone.

Of the 253 people aboard the train when it derailed, 7 died of injuries at the scene and another died in the emergency room at a local hospital. Reports indicate 185 were seen in 10 local hospitals.

The NTSB review of medical records show the large majority of injured occupants were transported to hospitals by police vehicle or SEPTA bus. Only 3 of 43 people with serious injuries had an ambulance transport chart, and the injured were distributed unevenly across nearby trauma centers and local hospitals.