Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Jul 10, 2013

Police boost number of Quebec disaster missing and dead to 60

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – The number of people dead or missing after an oil-tanker train exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic has risen to 60 from 50, police said on Wednesday, as 200 investigators sifted through the charred wreckage of what they said is a crime scene.

The runaway train derailed and blew up in the middle of the town of 6,000 near the Maine border early on Saturday morning, flattening dozens of buildings in Lac-Megantic’s historic downtown and leaving it looking like a war zone.

Jul 10, 2013

Police sift through ‘crime scene’ days after Quebec train crash

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – Investigators sifted through the charred remains of Lac-Megantic’s historic downtown early Wednesday morning, as they searched for clues into what could turn out to be North America’s worst railway disaster since 1989.

Police said they are investigating whether Saturday’s derailment and subsequent explosion – which leveled the center of the lakeside Quebec town killing at least 15 and probably dozens more – involved foul play or criminal negligence.

Jul 10, 2013

Quebec police open criminal probe after deadly train crash

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian police on Tuesday said they had opened a criminal investigation into the train explosion that likely killed 50 people in Lac-Megantic, and some 200 officers were scouring the town’s devastated center for clues.

Inspector Michel Forget said police did not believe terrorism was involved when a runaway train hauling 72 cars of crude oil barreled into town early on Saturday, derailed on a curve and exploded into a huge fireball that destroyed the center of the lakeside community.

Jul 9, 2013

Quest for answers starts in deadly Canada rail crash

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – Investigators seeking the cause of the deadly train crash in the tiny Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, were focusing Tuesday on the train’s brakes, the railway company’s own regulations and whether Canada needs tougher train-transport standards.

Officials from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said more than a dozen investigators were examining every angle of the accident, in which a runaway train hauling 72 cars of crude oil plowed into the lakeside town and exploded.

Jul 9, 2013

Residents of Quebec town allowed to go home after train disaster

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 9 (Reuters) – Authorities in the
severely damaged Quebec town of Lac-Megantic said some residents
could start returning home on Tuesday, three days after a
runaway train derailed and exploded, killing up to 50 people.

“I have excellent news to announce this morning,” Mayor
Colette Roy-Laroche told reporters as she announced that around
1,200 of the 2,000 people who were evacuated due to the disaster
could go home. The town has 6,000 people.

Jul 9, 2013

Quebec disaster death toll jumps to 13, some 37 still missing

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The death toll in Quebec’s oil train disaster jumped to 13 people on Monday and police said about 37 more people were missing, a sign the derailment and explosion could be the worst accident in Canada since the Swissair crash of 1998.

Police said they estimated a total of around 50 people were either dead or missing after the gigantic blast destroyed dozens of buildings in the center of Lac-Megantic early on Saturday.

Jul 9, 2013

Shell-shocked residents eager to return home in Quebec town

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – Three days after a runaway train derailed and exploded in the downtown core of Lac-Megantic, many residents of the Quebec tourist town are still waiting for answers about missing loved ones, while others are just impatient to return home.

With the fires now out and the authorities finally able to access the epicenter of the blasts, the death toll is expected to climb and many of the town’s evacuated residents will finally be allowed back to assess the damage.

Jul 9, 2013

Insight: How a train ran away and devastated a Canadian town

CHICAGO/LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – The short length of track, nestled in a dark pine and birch forest in Quebec, is a regular overnight stop for freight trains hauling crude oil and other raw materials across North America.

Normally, before retiring for the night, the train operator sets the hand brakes and leaves one locomotive running to power the air brakes that help hold the train in place on the gently sloping track. The next morning, the operator or a relief engineer starts up the train and continues on their way.

Jul 9, 2013

How a train ran away and devastated a Canadian town

CHICAGO/LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 8 (Reuters) – The short
length of track, nestled in a dark pine and birch forest in
Quebec, is a regular overnight stop for freight trains hauling
crude oil and other raw materials across North America.

Normally, before retiring for the night, the train operator
sets the hand brakes and leaves one locomotive running to power
the air brakes that help hold the train in place on the gently
sloping track. The next morning, the operator or a relief
engineer starts up the train and continues on their way.

Jul 8, 2013

Quebec firemen cut power to runaway train’s brakes, railway says

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, CHICAGO (Reuters) – Airbrakes that would have prevented the Quebec train disaster failed because they were powered by an engine that was shut down by firefighters as they dealt with a fire shortly before the calamity occurred, the head of the railway that operated the train said on Monday.

The runaway oil tanker train derailed in Lac-Megantic shortly after one o’clock in the morning on Saturday, exploding in a deadly ball of flames and killing at least five people, with another 40 still missing and feared dead.

    • About Richard

      "Richard is based in Reuters' Dakar bureau where he has helped lead coverage of two dozen countries in West and Central Africa since September 2009. He previously ran Reuters' energy coverage in the Americas as a senior editor based in New York."
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