One of two crew members of the CSX freight train that was struck by the Amtrak Silver Star on Feb. 4, 2018, recounted the accident in a segment for CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that was broadcast Sunday night.
SMART Transportation Division Local 30 member Michael Cella, 36, the conductor on the Amtrak train, and engineer Michael Kempf, a former TD member, were killed in the accident near Cayce, S.C., that also injured 100 passengers.
While the accident investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not been finalized, a misaligned switch has been widely reported as the cause of the collision, which occurred in dark territory.
Engineer Mark James told “60 Minutes” that he has experienced PTSD ever since the accident.
“This is something I’ll never, ever get over,” he told correspondent Lesley Stahl.
The segment also detailed features of Positive Train Control (PTC) technology. Stahl was shown how PTC operates by a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) employee.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, also interviewed in the segment, criticized the Federal Railroad Administration and industry for the slow implementation of PTC.
“The regulator needs to step up to the plate and do their job and regulate,” he said.
Services have been announced for Brother Michael Cella, the SMART Transportation Division conductor, who was killed in the Amtrak Train 91 collision Feb. 4 in Cayce, S.C.
A gathering of Cella’s friends and family will be 10 a.m. to noon immediately followed by a celebration of life Monday, Feb. 12 at Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill Funeral Home, 3601 Old Jennings Road Middleburg, Fla. 32068.
Brother Cella is survived by his wife, Christine, daughter, Elena, and son, Logan.
A memorial fund for Amtrak conductor Mike Cella, a current SMART Transportation Division member out of Local 30 in Florida, and engineer Mike Kempf, a former SMART TD member, who were tragically killed in the line of duty on Sunday, Feb. 4, has been established.
Proceeds from the fund will be used to help their families with expenses as they grieve the loss of these men in the collision of Amtrak 91 with a parked CSX freight train.