Thursday, July 11, 2013

20 Dead, 30 Missing in Quebec Rail Explosion and Fire

Aerial view shows multiple car pile-up in Lac-Megantic, Quebec

Lac-Megantic, QUEBEC -- At least 20 people are dead and 30 missing in an oil train explosion in the province of Quebec, near the border with Maine. According to USA Today, "Quebec Premier Pauline Marois arrived Thursday to tour the site of Canada's worst railway catastrophe in almost 150 years, six days after a runaway oil train demolished the heart of a small town, killing 50 people in a fiery explosion."

The intensity of the explosions and fire made parts of the devastated town too hot and dangerous to enter and find bodies days after the disaster. Only one body had been formally identified, said Genevieve Guilbault of the coroner's office, and she described efforts to identify the other remains as "very long and arduous work."

Investigators are also looking at a fire on the same train just hours before the disaster. A fire official has said the train's power was shut down as standard operating procedure, meaning the train's air brakes would have been disabled. In that case, hand brakes on individual train cars would have been needed.

The derailment is Canada's worst railway disaster since a train plunged into a Quebec river in 1864, killing 99.

CBS Video of the Lac-Megantic Rail Disaster


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