As evening’s pinkish-orange light descended on the cotton farms and cactus-dry mountains ringing the site of last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment, locals at the Desert Rose bar swapped theories.
They weren’t buying the FBI theory of sabotage, but not because of any anti-government sentiment. They wondered if the railway might be trying to cover up poor maintenance with talk of terrorists.
The FBI believes saboteurs may be to blame for Monday’s Sunset Limited derailment near Hyder that killed one person and injured 78, in part because a note found at the scene rails against abuses by federal law enforcement agencies and calls for an “independent federal agency” to watch the watchers.
“No one around here thinks like that. Not in Hyder, not here,” John Kane, 36, said in Arlington, about 17 miles from the site. “They don’t have those opinions.”
“I don’t believe it was sabotage,” Kane said Thursday. “I think it’s a ruse to divert attention from the fact that the tracks are not well maintained.”
The track’s owner, Southern Pacific Railroad Co., said the line is inspected twice a week and was examined on the Thursday before the derailment.