train derailed

Amtrak 188: The secret website where survivors can recover missing items

When Amtrak 188 crashed, hundreds of survivors fled the wreckage. Picking up that laptop, that purse, that suitcase wasn’t an option. And now, Amtrak is beginning the task of letting passengers claim their stuff.

According to documents sent to Amtrak 188 passengers, they can claim items by emailing a form to a railroad employee named employee Santa Green. (Yep, that’s her real name.) Certain items have already been identified as belonging to certain passengers, and those “associated” items will “come over time in multiple shipments and multiple packages.”

Amtrak, in conjunction with cleaning and damage restoration company Blackmon Mooring, is also hosting a secure website where passengers can claim unidentified items. The website features pictures and descriptions of these so-called “unassociated items.”

If passengers don’t claim their belongings by November, Amtrak says it will dispose of the items.

Green could not be reached for further comment about Amtrak’s item recovery plans.

Here’s the full text of the letter Amtrak sent:

Dear REDACTED

We would like to assure you that we are working to return your personal effects as quickly, carefully and respectfully as possible. Many items were displaced from their original baggage, and Amtrak teams are working to collect hundreds of items for assessment, catalogue and return with the utmost of care.

There are two categories of personal property recovered from Train 188:

Associated items are items that we have positively identified as belongings to a particular person. Associated items may come over time in multiple shipments, and in multiple packages.

Unassociated items are items that we have no positive identification regarding ownership. We want to give you the opportunity to view unassociated personal property items belonging to you or your family members, file a request to claim these items, and receive these items upon claim review.

Should you elect to participate in the unassociated items claim process, you may view and request unassociated personal property online at www.bmscat.com starting on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.  This secure website will host photographs and descriptions of unassociated items, along with instructions for claim ownership. Please contact us at the email address listed below for a printed version of the catalog if you do not have internet access.

To access the online catalog please use the following REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED.

Items with multiple claims will be resolved by a representative who will contact you regarding the specific item in question. 

Please note that the unassociated personal property secure website and all its contents are considered sensitive and confidential. This website is to be used solely to assist you in identifying items associated with you and/ or your family members. Any sharing of these materials for any other purpose is strictly prohibited. 

All items not claimed will be held until November 20, 2016, after which time arrangements will be made to dispose of all items securely.

If your personal property is damaged when you receive it, or if your personal property could not be located after viewing the online unassociated personal property website, please complete the Incident Property Claim Form. Return the completed Incident Property Claim Form to Amtrak by scanning the form and emailing it tosanta.green@Amtrak.com or by mail.

Please retain a copy of your completed form for your records and mail the original form to:

NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK)

Attn: Santa Green

60 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Room 3E-153

Washington, DC 20002

Thank you for your time and patience during this process.

Respectfully yours,

Amtrak

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