Headline RoundupFebruary 24th, 2023

Ohio Train Crash: Officials Release Preliminary Report on Potential Causes

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) pointed to an overheated wheel bearing as a potential cause of a train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio. 

Key Quotes: While the NTSB said its investigation was ongoing, the report states: “The wayside defect detector, or hot bearing detector (HBD), transmitted a critical audible alarm message instructing the crew to slow and stop the train to inspect a hot axle. The train engineer increased the dynamic brake application to further slow and stop the train. During this deceleration, an automatic emergency brake application initiated, and train 32N came to a stop.”

Pete's Visit: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose response to the crash has been criticized by Republicans, visited the site for the first time on Thursday. At a press conference, Buttigieg called the NTSB report an “important step” in addressing rail policy and praised East Palestine’s “decency and resolve.” Addressing criticism of his response, Buttigieg said, “I felt strongly about this and could have expressed that sooner.”

For Context: Some, including Buttigieg, previously suggested that Trump-era deregulation of train brake requirements could have contributed to the derailment. When Buttigieg noted in a Twitter thread that train safety regulations were “constrained” by “withdrawn” braking rules, many on the right said he “blamed Trump” for the disaster. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was widespread across the spectrum. Headlines varied in their framing of the report’s findings, with some emphasizing that the train crew was warned about the hot axle too late to stop the crash. 

Featured Coverage of this Story

More headline roundups

More News about Environment from the Left, Center and Right

From the Left

From the Center

From the Right