Train crash probe focuses on brakes
Officials investigating the train explosion in Canada are focusing on how the brakes came to be released, sending the parked train careering down a hill into the town of Lac-Megantic eight miles away.
Ed Burkhardt, the chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said that on parking the train for the night, the engineer had shut down four of the five locomotive units, leaving one running to power the brakes. Somehow, the fifth locomotive was also shut down.
Five people are confirmed dead and 40 remain missing after the driverless train, which was pulling 72 wagons containing crude oil, derailed and blew up on Friday.
Yves Bardoun, a spokesman for the railroad, said in an interview with Radio-Canada yesterday that someone may have interfered with the train. "Everything is possible," he said.
Meanwhile, there was anger among local residents when it was revealed that local firefighters had been called out earlier to put out a blaze on part of the train. It was unclear whether their actions could be linked to the derailment.
Several members of the 6,000-resident lakeside town have told reporters they are convinced that many more people were killed, amid fears that bodies may have been vapourised by the flames.
Police have been unable to examine much of the area destroyed by a gigantic fireball. (© Daily Telegraph, London)