Norfolk Southern withheld info during East Palestine response, investigators say

By Chris Marquette, Mike Lee | 06/25/2024 01:28 PM EDT

The NTSB investigation turned up a series of failures before the wreck and during the emergency response.

This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio still on fire.

The train derailed the evening of Feb. 3, 2023, sparking a fire that burned for days. Gene J. Puskar/AP

The head of the agency investigating the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment lashed out on Tuesday at the railroad involved in the accident for what she called unethical conduct and an inappropriately aggressive response to the probe, including efforts to undermine the board’s staff.

Jennifer Homendy, head of the independent National Transportation Safety Board, called Norfolk Southern’s conduct during the investigation, which concluded on Tuesday, “unconscionable.” She accused the railroad of dragging its feet on releasing information, abusing the board’s investigations process, “manufacturing its own evidence” and trying to smear the board’s reputation, which she called the gold standard for accident investigations around the world.

“We are impervious to anything but the truth,” Homendy said. “I will not allow … any entity to impugn that reputation or malign the reputation of our investigative staff.”


The railroad said it has acted ethically and cooperated throughout the investigation.