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Release date: July 22, 2009
*** Press Release ***
The SFMTA today released video from the platform cameras showing the accident that occurred at West Portal Station at approximately 2:50 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators completed their on-site work in San Francisco today and returned the video to the SFMTA’s control (see attached NTSB update). The video is available for pick-up at 1 South Van Ness Avenue (at Market), 7th Floor.
As the NTSB investigators departed San Francisco, SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. outlined the immediate steps the Agency is taking to reinforce existing operational rules to ensure that the Muni system is safe. “We have been working hard in recent years to improve the safety culture at the SFMTA and going forward we are redoubling those efforts,” he said.
The immediate actions include the following:
Central Control Oversight—If a train is observed to be moving in manual mode without authorization from Central Control, the Train Controller (staff at Central Control) will command the train using the Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) to stop immediately and will contact the Operator (began Sunday, July 19).
Hourly Announcements—Central Control is making the following announcement hourly to all Operators in the Muni Metro system: “Attention all Metro Operators. As a reminder of rule 4.9.4, Operators must not cut-out or bypass any vehicle function or change operating modes without approval from Central Control” (began Monday, July 20).
Bulletin Issued—SFMTA management issued a bulletin reinforcingthe rules currently in place to not select manual mode unless authorized by Central Control (issued Monday, July 20).
Street Supervision—Street Inspectors at Embarcadero, Church and Duboce and West Portal (all points where the Muni Metro system transitions between automatic and manual operation) are reiterating relevant rules with all Operators (began Monday, July 20).
Issuing Violations—Central Control will write a violation if any Operator is observed moving to manual mode without authorization.
The SFMTA is evaluating additional safety improvements and will outline them publicly as they are implemented.
The San Francisco Fire Department has also provided updated information on the number of people transported from the accident scene to San Francisco hospitals. As of today, 48 patients (4 red, 24 yellow, 20 green) were reportedly transported from the scene. Of the 48, 13 people, including all four classified as requiring immediate transport (red), were taken to San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) and the four immediate cases (including Muni Operator Henry Gray from the striking train) were admitted to the hospital.
According to SFGH, two people, including Gray, remain in the hospital, one in good condition and one in fair condition. The patient in good condition is being transferred today to another hospital for further medical treatment. There is no official information available about patients who went to other San Francisco hospitals.
No surveillance video from either light rail vehicle (LRV) involved in the collision exists because the video system was not fully implemented on the entire light rail fleet during the vehicle procurement process. All video surveillance systems on Muni light rail vehicles are being inspected and will be activated and functional as soon as possible.
The NTSB continues to be the lead agency in the ongoing accident investigation. The California Public Utilities Commission is working closely with the NTSB and the SFMTA on the investigation and is also expected to issue a report.
The NTSB contact is Peter Knudson, Public Affairs Officer, 202.314.6100.
Previous releases on this July 18 LRV collision
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