Transportation officials believe the derailed Washington state Amtrak train was traveling at well above the speed limit when it crashed down onto a busy highway on Monday.
NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr revealed the train was going 80 mph around a curve that had a 30 mph speed limit when it left the tracks, causing cars to fall off an overpass and onto Interstate 5 outside Olympia.
At least three were killed in the tragic accident and dozens injured. Now investigators are trying to piece together what happened in the moments prior to the crash.
The NTSB had not yet interviewed the train's engineer, Dinh-Zarr said Monday, adding that the agency is not yet unaware whether crew members knew the curve had a 30 mph limit.
"It's too early to tell" why it was going so fast, Dinh-Zarr said.
After the crash, dozens of motorists rushed from their halted cars to help victims in the mangled train as it dangled precariously from the overpass.
The good Samaritans did all they could to aid those pinned by debris and the some 90 people who would soon be taken to hospitals.
Witnesses 24-year-old Konzelman and 23-year-old Alicia Hoverson told KING5 they were riding to work together when the horror unfolded before their eyes.
"We went through the trains one at a time. Made sure people were stable. If they could move, we got them out of the train," said Konzelman. "Some of them couldn't move. They had back or neck injuries, so we assigned people to stay there with them and keep them calm."
Compounding the tragedy, the train was making its inaugural run on a new route that is part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service when all but one of the train's 14 cars jumped the tracks.