TAMPA, Fla. - The investigation into a deadly crash involving an Amtrak passenger train and parked CSX freight train in South Carolina intensified Monday, as passengers in Tampa weighed in on the accident, whose survivors included a woman from Tampa.
Mike Franklin waited outside the Amtrak station in downtown Tampa, realizing his previous 36 hours could have been much worse.
"My son has been working for AMTRAK for almost 20 years," Franklin said, adding his son often works the same route as the train that crashed Sunday morning. "Just thinking about he could be in an accident and he could be hurt. And I was just real worried about him. My daughter was worried and my wife. So we called him and he was okay."
The train collision in Cayce, South Carolina killed two crew members and injured 116 more, including a Tampa woman. Investigators are blaming a switch that was manually set to send the Amtrak train the wrong way down the tracks.
This marked the fourth deadly train crash in the last two months. The head of the National Transportation Safety board believes all of the accidents could have been avoided had a technology called Positive Train Control, or PTC, been in place.
"An operational PTC system is designed to prevent this type of accident," PTC Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters.
Positive Train Control is a GPS tracking system that's supposed to slow down ot stop a train when there's a problem on the tracks.
In 2008, Congress passed a law making the technology mandatory by 2015. The federal government, however, has since extended the deadline for all major rail lines to implement PTC until to the end of 2018 or even 2020.
Amtrak has said the vast majority of its trains and tracks are already equipped with Positive Train Control. But CSX owns the tracks where the South Carolina crash occurred. According to the government, less than 40 percent of CSX tracks are equipped with PTC.
CSX has offered condolences to the families of the victims of the crash but did not respond to questions about PTC.