Canada rail disaster official death toll hits 35

Published July 14, 2013

| AFP

Two more bodies were found Sunday in downtown Lac-Megantic, the Quebec town devastated when an oil tanker train derailed and exploded, bringing the body count to 35 of the 50 presumed dead.

Two damaged and unstable buildings in the disaster zone were demolished Sunday afternoon, police added, to allow searchers safer access to the area as the search for corpses continues.

"Temperatures are very high, which slows down the operations. Three firefighters were lightly wounded Sunday, but they were cared for on the scene," said provincial police spokesman Michel Forget.

The train, made up of 72 tanker cars loaded with crude oil, derailed in the early hours of July 6 in Lac-Megantic, a town of 6,000 near the Canada-US border. Waves of fire gutted several streets in the town center.

The disaster appears to have been caused by an engineer's failure to properly set the hand brake on the runaway, the railway's chairman said this week.

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