Dublin woman Eimear Kelleher escaped unharmed from the Philadelphia train crash that killed eight people last Tuesday.
Lucan-born Kelleher said that every bone in her body hurts following the accident in which 65 of the 243 on board were critically injured.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday morning, Kelleher commented
Every bone in my body hurts.— Eimear Kelleher (@TullamoreEims) May 14, 2015
Scariest moment of my life. Luckily I'm just a little banged up. Not everyone was as blessed. Keep #Philly in your thoughts tonight. #Amtrak— Eimear Kelleher (@TullamoreEims) May 13, 2015
Kelleher was appointed as brand ambassador for Tullamore Dew in New York in August 2014 and was returning from Washington to her home in Brooklyn at the time of the crash. Kelleher believes she was on the train around 15 minutes before the crash occurred.
Kelleher told the Journal.ie that she had rushed to catch this earlier train for the cheaper fare.
“It all happened so quick that it’s such a blur. I escaped with just a sore leg and some bruises. I was very lucky. I can’t believe it was such a bad accident. It doesn’t seem real.”
“The train started to speed up and all of a sudden my cup of tea fell and then my laptop went and I was upside down lying on the ceiling,” she told the Herald.
As the carriage began to fill with smoke, other passengers helped Kelleher to escape.
“The people on the train were brilliant. No one acted selfishly and they were all trying to help each other.”
“We had to climb up using the seats and the guys just reefed me up by the arms through the window,” she continued.
“When I got out, I saw the firefighters and police running down to help. They put up ladders and I eventually got down. It was like I was in a film. It was just bizarre.”
May 13, 2015
Kelleher was among the fortunate passengers to receive just minor injuries in the crash.
“I saw some people being carried out on stretchers. That was one of the worst things I saw – and there was a lot of blood,” she said.
Yesterday, as the eighth body was pulled from the train wreckage by officials, it was revealed that the train was traveling at an inappropriate speed at the time of the crash. Attention has turned to Brandon Bostian, the 32-year old engineer who was driving the train, to explain why he delayed slowing the train down as it went into a curve.
It is believed that Bostian pulled the emergency brakes on the train just moments before it crashed while traveling at 106 miles per hour. The required speed limit for the portion of the tracks is 50 miles per hour.
Some 43 fire vehicles, 120 firefighters, 18 medic units and about 200 police officers were dispatched to the crash site.
Thank you so much to all the first responders-there w/in minutes. Thank you, thank you, thank you @PhillyPolice @PhillyFireDept #Amtrak188— Patrick J. Murphy (@PatrickMurphyPA) May 13, 2015
The New York engineer has said that he has no memory from the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently studying the train’s “black box” for further information on the lead-up to the crash.
The stretch of rail on which the train was traveling, the Washington-to-Boston route of the North East corridor, is not yet fitted with the signal system “positive train control” that can prevent trains from going too fast. It is thought that if the system was in place, the crash could have been prevented.
Even without the system in place, other alert systems exist on Amtrak trains to warn drivers of excessive speed.
Bostian received a head wound in the crash, requiring 14 stitches, and claims he remembers nothing of the crash until he came to, found his cell phone and rang 911. He has provided a blood sample and his lawyer stated that he had not taken drugs or alcohol.
Officials now believe they have accounted for all those on-board the train: the 238 passengers and five crew members, with the discovery of the eighth body.