The derailment of a train carrying dangerous toxic chemicals in Ohio can be traced to an overheated wheel bearing, which was 253 degrees hotter than the air temperature, National Transportation Safety Board officials said, Axios reports.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on what most likely caused the accident involving Norfolk Southern.
It pointed to a wheel bearing severely overheating ahead of the derailment.
The wheel bearing was found to be 253 degrees hotter than the air’s temperature.
Anything above 170 degrees would require the engineer to stop and inspect the train.
The report said that the train sensors that are supposed to alert the crew did not detect the temperature until it was too late.
An engineer hit the brakes but was unable to stop, leading the 23rd car and others behind it to derail and spill toxic chemicals.
The NTSB said that the accident was “100% preventable,” that the train crew doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong, and that the board will continue to investigate.
A final report is expected next year.
Rail operator Norfolk Southern is getting slammed for its response following the derailment.
Derailments typically require a hyper-local response, but Norfolk Southern was caught flat-footed when this incident garnered large-scale attention.
The train was carrying hazardous materials, including at least five tanker cars of vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic gas used to produce PVC plastic and vinyl products, NBC News reports.
The Ohio train derailment on Feb. 3 forced hundreds of people to evacuate, led to a controlled release of potentially hazardous chemicals into the air, and caused alarm about toxic fumes and water contamination from spilled materials.
As the spotlight on Norfolk Southern intensified, the company failed to adequately address the tough questions required to regain control of the narrative and reestablish trust.
Norfolk Southern is now going on a media blitz to push back against “misinformation” it believes is being peddled by political agitators.
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