Canadians race to keep oil from derailment out of river
LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — The death toll in the devastating oil train derailment in Quebec reached 13 on Monday with 40 remaining unaccounted for as crews worked to contain 27,000 gallons of light crude that spilled from the tankers and made its way into nearby waterways.
There were fears it could flow into the St. Lawrence River all the way to Quebec City.
Investigators are testing ground and drinking water when crude oil from the railcars spilled into Chaudiere River that runs through the town.
Quebec's Environment Ministry spokesman Eric Cardinal said officials remained hopeful they could contain more than 85 percent of the spill.
All but one of the train's 73 tanker cars were carrying oil when they came loose early Saturday, sped downhill nearly seven miles into the town of Lac-Megantic, near the Maine border, and derailed, with at least five of the cars exploding.
The air brakes on the driverless train had been disabled by firefighters who were called to extinguish a blaze aboard one of the locomotives 90 minutes before the disaster, the head of the railway said.
The blasts decimated the town core, including a public library and a popular bar that was filled with revelers.
Quebec provincial police Sgt. Benoit Richard said eight more bodies had been found in the wreckage, after conditions improved enough for inspectors to get better access to the charred site. Police would not say where the bodies were located for fear of upsetting families.
Raymond Lafontaine, who believed he lost three members of his family, including his son, said he was angry with what appeared to be lack of safety regulations. “We always wait until there's a big accident to change things,” he said.
“Well, today we've had a big accident, it's one of the biggest ever in Canada.”
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.