Shutdown hampers deadly Metro accident investigation

WASHINGTON – Due to the ongoing government shutdown, limited resources are available to investigate a deadly accident in a Metro tunnel over the weekend.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would typically be on the scene after Sunday’s incident, but officials confirm their staff is furloughed and will not assist.

“The most important thing for an investigation is to get on the scene and gather as much as you can,” says former NTSB boardmember Vernon Grose.

A team would likely have been at the accident site within an hour, he says.

“They would do measurements, they would be taking photographs, interviewing witnesses and everything else. All of that evidence is now missing,” Grose says.

Harold Ingram, 41, was doing maintenance work in a Red Line tunnel near Union Station when he was hit by a piece of rail. He died, and two other workers were seriously injured.

A statement from Metro says there was a loud noise and a fire, but the cause of that disturbance and circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation.

Metro officials are examining all pieces of equipment around the site.

NTSB is asking Metro to hand over its report when it is completed, but Grose says that will be of little help.

“They will have to work with second hand information,” he says. “It will be very cold evidence.”

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