A train derailment in Quebec continues to cause mayhem. Forty people are still missing as fires continue to burn. The out of control crude oil tanker crashed on Saturday, igniting massive fires.
The current death toll is five, with 40 people still unaccounted for. Authorities expect the death toll to rise as the fires continue to burn out of control. Seventy-two of the train’s tanker cars were transporting highly flammable oil.
As reported by ABC News, many of the tankers exploded on impact, sending fireballs into the air. Several intact cars are being monitored by firefighters as they fear more explosions.
The intact tankers have been covered with fire retardant foam and water in an effort to prevent overheating and eventual explosion.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper describes the devastating scene:
“This is an unbelievable disaster … This is an enormous area, 30 buildings just completely destroyed, for all intents and purposes incinerated. There isn’t a family that is not affected by this.”
Nearly 6,000 area residents were evacuated to prevent further injury or death. Although the official death toll is currently five, authorities expect to find more bodies as the fire subsides and the debris is removed.
The Quebec train derailment is the fourth similar accident in the last six months. The Canadian Railway Association states that nearly 140,000 tankers, carrying crude oil, will travel along Canada’s railways this year.
As the transport of oil in Canada continues to increase, resident and environmental groups are concerned that accidents will become more common. Representatives from Greenpeace have questioned compliance with federal safety regulations.
As reported by Fox News, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway officials explain that the train derailment was a freak accident. Joe McGonigle explains that the accident was likely caused by a breech in the train’s breaking system:
“The train was parked, it was tied up. The brakes were secured. Somehow it got loose.”
The train derailment continues to cause devastation in Quebec. The latest disaster underlines the continued controversy surrounding oil drilling and transport. Several opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have pointed out the downfalls of rail transportation while promoting the pipeline project.