Death toll in Canada oil rail train explosion rises to 13

09 July 2013 14:45  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Authorities in Quebec said on Tuesday that the number of confirmed deaths in the derailment and explosion of a train carrying crude oil now stands at 13.

In an update on Saturday’s (6 July) accident at Lac-Megantic, some 250km (155 miles) east of Montreal, Surete du Quebec and town officials also called on relatives of some 35 people still unaccounted for to provide DNA samples to help identify victims.

At the same time, authorities partly lifted evacuation orders, allowing some 1,500 of the 2,000 evacuated residents to return to their homes.

The authorities also advised that a “boiling water” order, imposed because of oil that spilled from the railcars after the explosion, remains in effect until further notice.

The train - with 72 railcars – derailed and exploded at around 01:15 local time on 6 July. Prior to the accident, it was parked uphill west of Lac-Megantic for a crew change. There was no engineer on the train at the time of the accident.

The rail carrier – Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) – has indicated that a release of air brakes on the train's locomotive may have been at fault.

Meanwhile, the accident sparked a debate about the safety and security of oil and chemicals shipment by rail in Canada. Both Canada and the US have seen a sharp increase in oil shipments by railcar because of tight pipeline capacities.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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