ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WUSA) -- National Transportation Safety Board officials say that when the CSX train was in the process of derailing in Ellicott City on Tuesday just before midnight, the automatic emergency braking system engaged when it detected an unknown fault. Officials are still trying to figure out why that happened.
This information comes after questions about whether or not the two women who were killed in the derailment, Elizabeth Nass and Rose Louise Mayr, both 19, may have had something to do with causing the accident, because of their proximity to the tracks, right where the train derailed.
NTSB officials said the investigation will reveal a lot more answers by Wednesday, when the download of data from the recorder on the locomotive is complete.
"It's hard to get any information from the scene, because coal cars derailed and dumped their loads," NTSB investigator Jim Southworth said.
The video and information from the recorder will be taken to the NTSB lab in Washington, where investigators will watch and listen to the events as they unfolded, officials said.
The NTSB took over the investigation from Howard County officials.
NTSB's Jim Southworth confirmed that 21 cars of the 80-car CSX train were all loaded with coal when they derailed just before midnight. The 3,000-foot-long, 9,000-ton train had two locomotives and was going 25 miles per hour at the time of the derailment, said Southworth. The three CSX employees on the train were uninjured. CSX officials say the train was traveling from Grafton, W.Va. to Baltimore.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman on Tuesday morning said train cars fell off a bridge, approximately 17 to 20 feet, onto Main Street below. According to Ulman, the two killed in the derailment were likely walking along the Main Street/Frederick Road bridge which runs over the Patapsco River under the CSX tracks.