September 15, 2008 | Barb Carr

Result of “Damage Control” Statement? Metrolink spokeswoman resigns after deadly train wreck

Reported in a recent AP article: “The Metrolink spokeswoman who announced that a deadly train crash was caused by an engineer’s mistake resigned Monday because the railroad’s board had called her words “premature,” even though they were later backed up by investigators.” Using TapRooT® our investigators know that that this finding would only be a problem (Causal Factor) and not the root causes.

Denise Tyrrell made a swift announcement blaming the engineer driving the Metrolink train for failing to stop at a red light and causing the head-on crash while the National Transportation Safety Board members cautioned that they had not completed their investigation (AP Article).

Another report stated “Metrolink Engineer Texting With Teen moments Before Killer Commuter Crash”.

What comes to mind with these numerous responses is the role of company media relations and their role in high profile incidents. There appear to be two main actions that must be announced during such major incidents: interim correction actions in place to protect the public and disassociation of the incident to how the company actually runs.

With wreckage and recovery efforts in process and before the investigation has had a chance to really find out the problems and what the causes were, how does it benefit a company to assign human error immediately? Instead of finding the root causes to prevent or mitigate this type of incident from occurring, the parties involved got into a battle of who was right first. The investigation to the true root causes of the Metrolink incident has only just begun.

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