Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Photos: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest in Paris

    Read more

  • Limited Gaza truce extended until midnight

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

Americas

Quebec train disaster death toll could surpass 40

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-08

About 40 people were still missing two days after a deadly explosion and fire from runway train levelled a large swath of the small lakeside town of Quebec's Lac-Mégantic, as investigators try to uncover the origins of the tragedy.

Hope was running out for about 40 people that remained missing in the eastern Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic, the scene of a devastating explosion and fire caused by a runway train that was transporting crude oil.

The runaway train and its 72 oil tank cars derailed, sparking multiple blasts and wall of fire that decimated the downtown district on Saturday morning.

Five people were confirmed dead in the small Quebec community of 6,000 people, located some 250 kilomtetres east of Montreal and just west of the border with the US state of Maine.

“I can tell you that we have met a lot of people….and what I can tell you is that about 40 people are considered missing,” provincial police Lieutenant Michel Brunet told a news conference on Sunday.

“We have to be careful with that number because it could go up or down,” he added. However, police also said that a higher death toll was inevitable.

“This is an unbelievable disaster,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who toured the ruins of shops, the town library and a church on Sunday.

“This is an enormous area, 30 buildings just completely destroyed, for all intents and purposes incinerated. There isn’t a family that is not affected by this,” Harper noted.
About one-third of Lac- Mégantic’s residents were told to leave their homes, while fire fighters put out the last flames and secured the area.

Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said the water supply was not at risk but advised the lakeside community to continue to boil water before drinking it as a precautionary measure, the Montreal Gazette reported.

Investigation ongoing

Federal investigators said they have recovered the black box from the runaway train as they looked into the reasons that caused the catastrophic incident, according to the National Post.

The freight train, owned by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, had been parked by its engineer on Friday night in the nearby town of Nantes.

At some point the tanker cars came loose and began rolling down the tracks and headed to Lac-Mégantic, about 10 kilometres away.

Edward Burkhardt, the president and CEO of the parent company of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said there was no reason to suspect any criminal or terror-related activity.

In a statement, the company said the disaster “may have resulted in the release of air brakes on the locomotive that was holding the train in place.”

The train’s oil was being transported from North Dakota’s Bakken oil region to a refinery in New Brunswick.

The Quebec disaster is the fourth freight train accident in Canada under investigation involving crude oil shipments since the beginning of the year.

Date created : 2013-07-08

  • CANADA

    Quebec town devastated in deadly train explosion

    Read more

COMMENT(S)