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Feds offer some insight into possible cause of NYC deadly train wreck

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The National Transportation Safety Board held a news conference on Monday afternoon to discuss the preliminary findings of the investigation into Sunday morning's deadly commuter train wreck in New York City that killed four passengers and injured 63 more others, several critically.

The NTSB said it is looking into whether the train was going too fast and whether human error or a mechanical problem was to blame.

According to preliminary reports, NTSB spokeman, Earl Weener said data from the commuter train's black box recorders indicated the train was traveling at 82 mph when it entered the curve, which has a speed limit of 30 mph.

Weener confirmed earlier reports by railroad officials that said there were no video cameras aboard the train. Many security experts have questioned how a commuter train -- especially in New York City, would not equipped with cameras? The answer, at least in part is that unions have fought to keep cameras from recording rail employees.

New York MTA officials say the curve, Spuyten Duyvil, located in the Bronx section of New York City, where the Metro-North’s Hudson Line meets Amtrak’s West Side Line, is the sharpest on Metro-North’s system.

Sunday's train crash was the second incident in recent months. A ten car train on the Metro-North line came off the rails in the same area of The Bronx in July. Three train operators on board escaped without injury.

U.S. President Barack Obama was informed about the train wreck on Sunday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a White House official said. "His thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this incident," the official said.

The MTA has identified the 4 people killed in the train wreck as Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh; James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring; James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose; and Ahn Kisook, 35, of Queens. Three of the passengers killed were found outside the train, apparently thrown from the train after the windows blew out, and the fourth victim was found inside.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration emphasized that the investigation into the cause of the wreck is in the preliminary stages. The final report could take up to a year to be released.

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