CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Five die, 40 missing after Canadian freight train disaster

Mon Jul 8, 2013 5:17pm EDT
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(In paragraph 29, corrects to say it would be deadliest accident in Canada since 1998 crash, not 1956)

By Richard Valdmanis and Julie Gordon

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 7 (Reuters) - At least five people died and 40 were missing on Sunday after a runaway train carrying crude oil exploded and destroyed the center of a small Canadian town in a disaster that raises fresh questions about shipping oil by rail.

The train had been hauling crude from North Dakota to eastern Canada, and was parked, without a driver, outside town when it began rolling downhill, gathering speed and derailing on a curve at 1 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Saturday.

Each tanker carried 30,000 gallons (113,000 liters) of crude oil. Four cars caught fire and exploded in a huge orange and black fireball that mushroomed hundreds of feet into the air and flattened dozens of buildings, including a popular bar.

Police said were investigating the disaster, and would talk to everyone involved.


Graphic showing location of disaster   Continued...