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Death Toll Rises To 13 In Quebec Train Explosion

The death toll has been raised to 13 in a freight train's derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, this past weekend.
AFP/Getty Images
The death toll has been raised to 13 in a freight train's derailment and explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, this past weekend.

Police in a small town in Quebec, Canada, where a runaway freight train holding crude oil caused a massive explosion, say they have found the bodies of eight more victims, bringing the death toll in Saturday's incident to 13. The authorities say dozens of people are still unaccounted for.

Residents of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, are still awaiting word on the fate of friends, neighbors and loved ones, as Mark reported this morning on The Two-Way. Police say they're still searching for victims of the disaster.

Officials said Monday that about 1,500 people who had been evacuated from the town will be allowed to return home in the coming days, possibly beginning Tuesday.

The blast that struck in the early hours of Saturday left a scene that has been compared to a war zone, leveling at least 30 buildings in the town's center, "including Le Musi-Café bar where partygoers were enjoying themselves in the wee hours of a glorious summer night," the CBC reports.

"Jean-Thomas Fortin, a Quebec public safety officer, said that the resettlement plan will be announced to the public Tuesday," Canada's CTV reports. "He added that he hoped the reintegration will start the same day, but he could not confirm that would be the case."

Update at 9:22 p.m ET: Officials Say Tankers Involved Have History Of Flaws

The lead Transportation Safety Board investigator told the Associated Press in a phone interview that the DOT-111 tanker cars involved in the derailment have a history of puncturing during accidents.

TSB investigator Donald Ross told the AP that his agency has gone on record stating that they would like to see improvements in the tankers. Ross also said that it is too early, however, to determine whether or not a modified tanker would have prevented the tragedy.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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