News / Americas

More Deaths Expected in Canada Oil Train Explosion

  • A firefighter and an emergency crew work on the site of the train wreck in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 16, 2013.
  • Melted glass on a lamb post is pictured on the site of the train wreck in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, July 16, 2013.
  • A man sits with a sign outside the school sheltering evacuees in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada, July 10, 2013.
  • Insurance inspectors walk the rail line heading toward the center of the town in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, July 10, 2013.
  • A house close to the train wreckage is pictured in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, July 9, 2013.
  • Wagons of the train wreck are seen in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, July 9, 2013.
  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with firefighters while he tours the wreckage of the train explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, July 7, 2013.
  • A volunteer gives clothes to a woman who was evacuated from her home after the train explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 7, 2013.
  • A view Lac Megantic, Quebec, after a driverless freight train derailed and exploded, July 7, 2013.
  • A burnt out vehicle sits near the wreckage of a train car after a train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, July 7, 2013.
  • Smoke billows from fire at the site of a train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 6, 2013.
  • Melted siding on a home is seen near the scene of a train derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec, July 7, 2013. 
VOA News
Police in Canada say the death toll has risen to five, after a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed Saturday in eastern Quebec province.

The derailment caused four of the train's more than 70 cars to explode in the middle of the town of Lac Megantic, igniting fires that destroyed dozens of buildings, including stores and at least one bar.

A police spokesman said 40 people are reported missing, and he predicted the confirmed number of deaths will rise.

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

The cause of the derailment is still not known. Canada's transportation safety agency is investigating.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the accident "shocking and truly devastating." He said the government is ready to provide assistance.

Last week, Canada suffered another derailment of a train carrying petroleum products. The train went off the 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.

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by: Mark T
July 07, 2013 10:24 PM
When I was young there was a big local story of a tanker truck whose driver had lost control going down a hill with a sharp curve at the bottom. The truck went off the road at the curve and slammed into the house situated on that corner of the road, bursting into flames and completely destroying that house and damaging the two neighboring houses in the explosion that followed the crash. The driver was the only fatality as no one was home in any of the houses involved in that accident. I remember, being a very young lad of 9 or 10 (this being 40 years ago now), horrified when pictures of the accident made the rounds in the local papers. Reading this story and now seeing the pictures associated with it, brought back those memories. This is on a far greater scale than that memory of mine and my heart aches for those victims, and for the operator of that train who will bear the scars of that accident for the rest of his life.

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