At least five people are dead, 2,000 evacuated and 40 buildings destroyed following the derailment of an unmanned crude-oil train in southern Quebec. "About 40 people are reported missing, according to the Sûreté du Québec," the provincial police, The Montreal Gazette reported this morning. "That number could go up or down at any time."
The train had been parked six miles from the town but got loose. "Somehow, the locomotive’s air brakes appear to have failed, allowing the train to roll forward under its own weight, the Gazette's Christopher Curis writes. "The freight train then rapidly gained momentum as it travelled down a slope in the tracks, derailed and exploded near downtown Lac Mégantic. There are fail-safes in place to ensure no one could have tampered with the brakes or the train’s controls, according to a spokesperson for the company that owns the locomotive," the Maine--based Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway.
|MapQuest image locates Lac Megantic (Click on map for larger version)|