LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) — The search for perhaps dozens of bodies in the Canadian town that was devastated by the wreck of a runaway oil train is being hampered by blackened debris, twisted metal and gas leaks.
The train smashed into the small lakeside town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, near the border with Maine, early Saturday. The fiery wreck incinerated much of the downtown area, leaving 15 people confirmed dead. Officials now say 50 people are missing, but that figure includes those killed. The bodies that have been recovered were burned so badly, they have yet to be identified.
One man who saw the approaching train just before the derailment and explosions says it was moving "at a hellish speed." He describes it as "a black blob that came out of nowhere." The witness says he'd just said goodbye to friends at a cafe. And those who fled quickly "made the right decision" -- while others who tried to start their cars may have "burned in them." Also killed, he says, were people who "weren't fast enough to escape the river of fire that ran down to the lake."
Investigators are focusing on whether a fire on the train a few hours before it broke loose may have set off the deadly chain of events.
157-a-15-(Don Ross, investigator-in-charge, Transportation Safety Board of Canada, at news conference)-"that we have"-Don Ross is the Canadian Transportation Safety Board's investigator in charge of the oil tanker crash. He says some evidence will be analyzed at the agency's lab. (9 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *157 (07/09/13)££ 00:15 "that we have"
156-a-12-(Don Ross, investigator-in-charge, Transportation Safety Board of Canada, at news conference)-"following the accident"-Don Ross is the Canadian Transportation Safety Board's investigator in charge of the oil tanker crash. He says they're getting lots of useful information about the derailment. (9 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *156 (07/09/13)££ 00:12 "following the accident"
APPHOTO SQ103: This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press) (8 Jul 2013)
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