MTA Releases Video of Muni Crash at West Portal Station

The MTA has released video of Saturday’s Muni collision, which was captured by several platform cameras at the West Portal Station. The footage showing an L train slamming into the rear of a K train, and the immediate aftermath, was in the custody of the National Transportation Safety Board but turned back over to Muni today. According to MTA spokesperson Judson True, there is no video from inside:

No surveillance video from either light rail vehicle (LRV) involved in the collision exists because the video system was not fully implemented on the entire light rail fleet during the vehicle procurement process. All video surveillance systems on Muni light rail vehicles are being inspected and will be activated and functional as soon as possible.

48 people were injured in the crash, including the operator of the L train, who told NTSB investigators he "blacked out." The MTA said the two most seriously injured, including the operator, are in good and fair condition at San Francisco General Hospital.

More video below the break.

The NTSB, meantime, said it has wrapped up its investigation at the scene.  From the press release and NTSB acting Chairman Mark Rosenker:

Data captured by recorders in the train control center indicated that the L Line train was switched from automatic to manual mode while stopped in the tunnel at the same time that the K Line train was occupying the track at the station. Approximately 24 seconds after the L Line train was switched to manual mode, it struck the stationary K line train. The L Line train was traveling at between 20 and 23 miles per hour at the time of the collision.

Post-accident examinations have not revealed any problems with the braking system or any other mechanical element of the train. There was no indication that the emergency brake was activated. An evaluation of the signal system did not reveal any anomalies or malfunctions with the performance or functionality of the system.

Rosenker said that the lead NTSB investigator interviewed the operators of both trains involved in the collision, as well as an employee monitoring operations and train activity at the train control center. The operator of the L train that struck the K train told the investigator that he "blacked out" as his train approached the platform. The NTSB will be reviewing the medical history and records of the operator as well as any current medical conditions or treatments that he may have been under at the time of the accident.

  • Sparky

    I just can’t stop watching — It’s like a train wreck.

  • Nick

    If the K wasn’t there to stop the runaway train, it most likely would have killed some people over the next 3-5 blocks. Do those red emergency handles actually work and would anyone on the train have known to use them?

  • Rick
  • No one rushes over to help. Most seem nonplussed, but others run away as if these electric vehicles were going to explode or something….

  • It’s not natural or instinctual to run towards the 80,000 (I believe it’s somewhere around that) objects crashing. Those who didn’t run away were probably awestruck and petrified by what they’d just seen.

    I promise you not one person’s first thought was “those are electric and have obviously lost power since they’ve stopped moving and are now perfectly safe to approach.” It doesn’t matter how many crashes you’ve seen on tv or in movies, real or not, you are not prepared. I say this as someone who just witnessed a nearly fatal nearly fatal streetcar crash from just as close and only a few years ago ran towards a car crash yelling “take the key out” when I saw gasoline leaking out.

  • Spokker

    “No one rushes over to help. Most seem nonplussed, but others run away as if these electric vehicles were going to explode or something….”

    Thanks, Superman.