LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — A driverless freight train carrying tankers of crude oil derailed at high speed and exploded into a giant fireball in the middle of a small Canadian town early Saturday, destroying dozens of buildings, killing at least three people and leaving an unknown number of people missing.
The disaster occurred shortly after 1 a.m. when the runaway train with 73 cars sped into Lac-Megantic, a picturesque lakeside town of about 6,000 people near the border with
, and came off the rails. Witnesses said the town center was crowded at the time. Maine
Four of the pressurized tank cars caught fire and blew up in a fireball that mushroomed many hundreds of feet up into the air. The train was transporting crude oil from North Dakota to eastern Canada, likely to New Brunswick, news that is bound to revive questions about the safest way to carry the oil needed to service North America’s economies…………………………..
An official from
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the firm that operated the train, said the train had been parked some distance away from the town and no one was on board when it derailed.
“We’re not sure what happened, but the engineer did everything by the book. He had parked the train and was waiting for his relief … somehow, the train got released,” vice president of marketing Joseph R. McGonigle told Reuters………………… READ WHOLE ARTICLE