News / Americas

One Dead in Canadian Fuel Train Blast

Smoke billows from fire at the site of a train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 6, 2013.
Smoke billows from fire at the site of a train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 6, 2013.
VOA News
Many people remain missing in Canada's Quebec province, a day after a train carrying crude oil hurtled off track and exploded in the center of a town, destroying dozens of buildings and killing at least one person.

The accident in the lakeside town of Lac-Megantic occurred in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when the town center was crowded with weekend partygoers.

Officials have confirmed one fatality, but say they expect the toll to rise. Media reports indicate up to 80 people could be missing.

The derailment caused four of the train's more than 70 cars to explode in the middle of the town, sending a gigantic fireball into the night sky. The fires destroyed dozens of buildings, including stores and at least one bar, and continued burning for hours as both Canadian and U.S. firefighters fought the blazes.  

The accident forced up to 2,000 people to evacuate from their homes - a third of Lac-Megantic's 6,000 residents.

The cause of the derailment is still not known. The rail company that operated the train - the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway - said the train's conductor parked it shortly before midnight Friday. The rail line says it believes the conductor set the brakes properly, but that "sometime after, the train got loose," speeding into the town "under its own inertia," before derailing.   

Canada's transportation safety agency is investigating.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic owns more than 800 kilometers of track in Canada's Quebec and New Brunswick provinces and the northeastern U.S. states of Maine and Vermont.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the accident "shocking and truly devastating." He said his "thoughts and prayers" are with the people of Lac-Megantic and that the government is ready to provide assistance.

Just last week, Canada suffered another derailment of a train carrying petroleum products. The train went off track in Calgary, Alberta, when a flood-damaged bridge sagged toward the still-swollen Bow River.  The derailed rail cars were able to be removed without spilling their cargo.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Colombian Peace Talks' Sponsors Worry About War Escalation

Statement by Norway, Cuba, Chile and Venezuela says it's essential that parties tone down conflict, step up confidence-building measures
More

Brazil's Rousseff Tells Newspaper She Rejects Opposition Calls to Quit

President says she plans to finish term, continue with efforts to narrow budget deficit
More

Carnival Aims to Launch Miami-Cuba Cruises in May 2016

Pending Cuban approval, Carnival would become first American cruise company to visit island since 1960 trade embargo
More

Pope Urges Latin America to Find Unity Through Common Faith

Pope Francis said Mass for nearly one million Catholics in the Quito, Ecuador Tuesday, leaves Wednesday for Bolivia, then heads to Paraguay on Friday
More

Venezuela Recalls Ambassador to Guyana Amid Territory Dispute

OPEC nation in June demanded Guyana halt exploration off coast of region known as the Essequibo, weeks after ExxonMobil said it had found oil
More

CONCACAF Details Rebuilding Plans After FIFA Scandal

North and Central American and Caribbean soccer body publishes anti-corruption proposals Monday after its two of its officials were implicated in racketeering
More