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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-73-013
Details
Synopsis: AT ABOUT 7:55 A.M., ON FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 1972, AN EASTBOUND SCHOOLBUS WAS DRIVEN ACROSS A GRADE CROSSING ON GILCHRIST ROAD, NEAR CONGERS, N.Y., AND WAS STRUCK BY THE LEAD LOCOMOTIVE OF A NORTHBOUND PENN CENTRAL FREIGHT TRAIN. EXCEPT FOR A STOP SIGN, AT WHICH THE BUSDRIVER FAILED TO STOP, AND A STANDARD RAILROAD-CROSSING SIGN, THE CROSSING WAS NOT SPECIALLY PROTECTED. AFTER IMPACT THE SCHOOLBUS WAS DRIVEN 1,116 FEET DOWN THE TRACK BY THE TRAIN, AND THE BODY STRUCTURE OF THE BUS DISINTEGRATED. THE REAR SECTION OF THE BUS WAS TORN LOOSE, FELL BESIDE THE TRACK, AND OVERTURNED WITH A NUMBER OF STUDENTS UNDERNEATH. TWO OF THE SEVERAL STUDENTS WHO WERE EJECTED FROM THE REMAINING PORTION OF THE BUS PASSED THROUGH SEPARATED FLOOR SECTIONS AND FELL BETWEEN THE RAILS INTO THE PATH OF THE TRAIN. AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT FIVE STUDENTS DIED, AND THE BUSDRIVER AND ALL 44 REMAINING STUDENTS WERE INJURED. NONE OF THE TRAIN CREW WAS INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: EXPAND ITS PUPIL-TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ACTIVITIES IN ORDER TO PROVIDE LIAISON, MANAGEMENT CONSULTATION, AND SUPERVISION AT THE LOCAL LEVEL TO ASSURE COMPLIANCE WITH ITS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. THE STATE'S PARTICIPATION ON THE LOCAL LEVEL SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE MORE ACTIVE ASSISTANCE IN TRAINING PUPIL-TRANSPORTATION PERSONNEL.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Congers, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79801
Accident Reports: ​Penn Central Freight Train / Schoolbus Collision
Report #: RHR-73-01
Accident Date: 3/24/1972
Issue Date: 3/30/1973
Date Closed: 1/1/1980
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of New York, Department of Education (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s): Training and Education, School Bus

Safety Recommendation History
From: State of New York, Department of Education
To: NTSB
Date: 6/29/1973
Response: STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK STATE LETTER STATES THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION HAS REQUESTED THIS OFFICE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14, 1973 TOGETHER WITH FIVE COPIES OF YOUR REPORT TITLED, "PENN CENTRAL TRAIN/SCHOOLBUS COLLISION NEAR CONGERS, NEW YORK, ON MARCH 24, 1972." YOU MAY REST ASSURED WE WILLREAD THIS REPORT WITH GREAT INTEREST AND GIVE SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONSTO THE RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED THEREIN.