Crisis communicators skewer Amtrak's crash response on Twitter

PR pros gave Amtrak failing grades on Twitter for not quickly incorporating social media and slowly releasing statements on the deadly Philadelphia crash.

PR pros are taking Amtrak’s crisis comms response to task on social media after one of its trains partially derailed and turned over in Philadelphia last night, injuring 140 and killing six.

The train was traveling from Washington, DC, to New York City when it derailed in Philadelphia, shutting down service in the Northeast region. The National Transportation Safety Board began investigating on Wednesday morning. Sources told NBC News that the train’s speed is being examined as a possible cause of the crash.

Crisis communicators castigated the railroad for its delayed response to the incident on social media.

Amtrak’s first tweet read: "We are aware of the derailment of Northeast Regional train 188 north of Philadelphia and will provide updates as they become available." It then posted a statement and held press conferences this morning.

Here are PR pros’ reactions on Twitter:

Others pointed out that the railroad is looking for a new communications leader based in Washington, DC. Performing crisis comms work, handling media relations duties, and serving as a corporate spokesperson is part of the position, which the railroad posted a job ad for on Wednesday.

A few communicators had praise for Amtrak’s response.

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