Tanker cars derail on broken bridge in flood-hit Calgary
By Nia Williams and Scott Haggett
CALGARY, Alberta, June 27 - Five rail cars carrying hazardous petroleum products derailed on a broken bridge over the swollen Bow River in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, perching perilously close to the water as emergency crews rushed to prevent a spill.
The cars contain petroleum distillate, a flammable light oil product that is used in paint and polishes or can be mixed with the sludgy crude from the Canadian oil sands so the crude can flow in pipelines.
The tanker cars left the tracks but remained upright and were not leaking, operator Canadian Pacific Railway said. CP blamed increased flows on the river for scouring away one of the bridge's supporting piers.
The Bow, one of two rivers flowing through Calgary, Canada's oil capital, reached record levels in devastating weekend floods that swamped many neighborhoods and likely caused billions of dollars worth of damage. The river is still flowing at three times the normal rate.
Part of bridge sank two feet toward the river after the accident, but Calgary Deputy Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said it had stopped sagging. The Bow River supplies drinking water to many communities and cities downstream of Calgary.
"The first step is secure the remaining rail cars that are there to ensure if the bridge does collapse completely, the cars are not floating down the river," Uzeloc told a news conference.
"We are trying to identify a position downstream where we can set up booms in case we do get any leakage."
Mark Seland, general manager of communications and public affairs for Canadian Pacific, said the bridge had been inspected 18 times since the flooding started in Calgary but the company had not inspected the underwater piers. Continued...