The Ohio derailment was “one hundred percent preventable,” according to the first conclusions of the investigation

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The Ohio derailment was

The first conclusions of the federal investigation into the massive derailment in early February in the US state of Ohio of a train with dozens of wagons loaded with toxic substances has determined that the accident was “one hundred percent preventable” since the sensors that detected the overheating of the bearings of the train wheels, the main cause of the derailment, were calibrated at an excessively high temperature.

The President of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Jennifer Homendy,has regretted the circumstances of a derailment that could represent a danger in the medium or long term for the population of East Palestine, the most affected by the fire of the toxic substances that the wagons transported, part of the which could have ended up in the nearby river.

“We call these things accidents but they are not accidents. What happened was 100 percent preventable,” Homendy lamented during a press conference in Washington D.C., where he also announced the accident. So the residents of East Palestine will be able to hear this information first hand next spring, when more details are known about the possible effects of the derailment. Homendy, however, has warned that the final report on the incident could take up to two years to see the light of day.

For now, and in In an interview with ABC News, Homendy confirmed that the main cause of the accident had been a bearing failure, the piece that connects the wheel with the axle of the wagons. According to images from local surveillance cameras, the train had “one of these bearings in one of the final states of overheating before the train derailment”.

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The third and last alert sensor registered a signal. a final temperature of 253 degrees above the critical maximumbefore launching the alarm and ordering the conductors to stop the train with the help of an automatic emergency brake that ended up being stopped. disengaging the wagons from the track. According to the rules of the train operator, Norfolk Southern, its sensors give an order to stop when the temperature exceeds 170 degrees, but this regulation does not have a national scope and depends rather on the own companies.

Company employees, on condition of anonymity, revealed last week to CBS that the vehicle had experienced mechanical failure two days earlierof the derailment and that it was carrying an obviously exaggerated load: 151 wagons, including twenty with harmful elements, for a total weight of about 18,000 tons. So far, the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States has found “preliminary signs of mechanical problems in one of the axles,” pending further information.

A total of 38 of these wagons ended up leaving the track, of which at least eleven contained butyl acrylate and, above all, vinyl chloride gas, used to plastic manufacturing and potentially carcinogenic. The fire sparked by the derailment — accompanied by an explosion that launched a fireball almost a kilometer high — forced a fireball This led to the immediate evacuation of a large part of the 4,700 residents of East Palestine, both due to the release of gas in the derailed wagons and in the other nine cars with toxic substances that were still there. on the road.

Environmental Crisis

On Monday, February 6, Norfolk Southern took over. the decision to carry out a “controlled expulsion” of the gas and the rest of the chemical products which contained the other nine carriages; a procedure that, according to the governor of the state of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, was carried out “as planned” and without major consequences for the population. However, experts such as the former Ohio Fire Chief Silverio Caggiano have warned that the release of the gas has opened up a possible environmental and health crisis whose effects could remain latent for between 15 and 20 years, according to comments collected by WFMJ, a local affiliate of the NBC network.

The release of the federal report, on Thursday afternoon, coincided with the first visit of the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, to the site of the Derailment after receiving numerous criticisms from the Republican opposition for his delay in visiting the site.

Already in East Palestine, the secretary defended the derailment. He explained his decision by explaining that he continued to do so. He followed the NTSB rules to not hinder the federal investigation, and has even come to appreciate the recent visit to the site by former US President Donald Trump. “I have a very simple message for a national political figure who has decided to get involved in this difficult situation: I need your help. If you take it seriously, it is possible to prevent more communities from going through this situation” , has explained.