Norfolk Southern wiped a video showing the moments leading up to a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that sparked a massive environmental disaster, ABC 6 On Your Side reported.
The camera inside the train car had 12 hours of recording space, all of which was used except for a 15-minute timespan before and five minutes after the derailment, Jennifer Homendy, National Transportation Safety Board chair, explained to ABC 6. The video, therefore, cannot be used during investigations to determine what the three-person crew was doing at that time.
“It’s just as important to see what was going on before that,” Homendy said, according to ABC 6. “The train was going in the 35-40 mph range earlier and then between 40-50. So we don’t even have what was occurring around the first and second wayside (defect) detectors, much less before that, all of which is key to investigations.”
The footage was “overwritten after the accident because they put the locomotive immediately back in service,” according to Homendy.
The missing video was briefly discussed during a Wednesday hearing about the Feb. 3 derailment, ABC 6 reported. Homendy said that the NTSB will conduct an investigation field hearing in June that is “wholly fact-finding in nature and open to the public.”
Government officials and Norfolk Southern are still conducting cleanup efforts in the eastern Ohio town after a controlled burn on the cars, which was conducted on Feb. 6, released toxic chemicals including vinyl chloride into the environment. Residents have since been concerned about the air and water quality, both of which the EPA maintains are of normal levels.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed in a press release, obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, Thursday night that soil sampling preliminary results “indicates levels of semi-volatile organic chemicals and dioxins in the samples are similar to typical background levels.”
To date, 8,442 tons of contaminated soil and 7.8 million gallons of “liquid wastewater” has been shipped, according to the EPA. It has conducted 621 indoor air screenings.
NTSB and Norfolk Southern did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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