Train Derailment: Lac-Megantic Death toll expected to rise (UPDATE)
[caption id="attachment_67404" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The death toll from Saturday's devastating train derailment and explosion has risen to five and about 40 people are still missing, Quebec provincial police said Sunday.[/caption]
Train Derailment: Train Explodes in Quebec, Causes at Least Three Deaths
A freight train filled with crude oil derailed in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, before exploding a few minutes before 1 a.m. ET on Saturday. Three people have been confirmed dead, and several others have been reported missing. The death toll is expected to rise, said Michel Brunet, a spokesman with Sûreté du Québec, the province's police force.
A spokeswoman for the coroner's office said the bodies were found with advanced burns.
Police say about 40 people have been reported missing by immediate family members in the town of about 6,000 people, located roughly 250 kilometres east of Montreal.
Balls of fire exploded into the night sky when the explosion happened, and the crash site was still burning more than 30 hours later. More than four blocks of the downtown area of this town of 6,000 people were leveled. Those who were evacuated from this town and the surrounding area – about 2,000 people – are staying at a Red Cross shelter a few miles away.
The train appeared to be a runaway. Joseph R. McGonigle, a spokesman with The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, the company that owned the train, told the Montreal Gazette that its conductor had locked and checked the train’s brakes before checking into a local hotel. Before the train could be taken over by the next conductor a few hours later, it got loose.
According to CBC, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair arrived on the scene Sunday morning. He said he just met a 12-year-old girl and her mother. He said they were searching for the girl's father, who had been missing since the explosion.
“Today we’re sharing the pain of the people who are devastated,” he said.
"There are still people who have been reported as missing or unaccounted for," said Sûreté du Québec Lt. Michel Brunet. "We can’t give you a number. We know there will be other deaths. We are aware of that, but we can’t give you any numbers at this time."
Lac-Mégantic is located 150 miles east of Montreal and 20 miles northwest of the Canada-United States/Quebec-Maine border.
[caption id="attachment_67398" align="aligncenter" width="624"] Local media have reported up to 100 people missing.
(graphic courtesy of the BBC)[/caption]
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