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Megantic Opportunity

July 9, 2013 permalink

Several cars of a runaway train exploded in Lac-Mégantic Quebec devastating the centre of the small town. Fifty people are missing, so far 13 bodies have been found. Twenty five social workers have descended on the town. We hope they are there to assist the community, but fear from experience that they will add to the misery.



Lac-Mégantic death toll rises to 13

Lac-Mégantic, Quebec
An onlooker watches the smoke over the town of Lac-Mégantic, 100 kilometres east of Sherbrooke, after a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette

LAC-MÉGANTIC - Eight new bodies have been found in search efforts at the scene of the Lac-Megantic train derailment Monday, bringing the official number of deaths to 13.

Spokespeople on site also announced at the evening news conference that the number of people missing in the disaster has risen to 50.

Sgt. Benoit Richard confirmed the SQ are still looking for the other 37 bodies.

As firefighters are giving investigators more access to the scene, police say they are discovering more remains. Parts of the blast site remain too dangerous for investigators to probe, but they anticipate finding more bodies as they get closer to the centre of the crash.

A forensics bone specialist has also been called in to help with the investigation. Only three bodies have been identified.

Richard Vaillancourt said that 25 social workers were available in Lac-Mégantic, and that the challenge for survivors of the explosion is a lack of closure about the missing and the dead.

"Without any closure their grief is in a state of suspension," said Vaillancourt. "They won't truly begin the grieving process until they know for sure their loved ones are dead. This could take a long time."

Police said that out of respect for the families of those reported missing they would not say where the bodies had been found.

At a 5 p.m. news conference coroner's office spokesperson Geneviève Guilbeault urged families of the missing to present themselves at their makeshift office and said they should bring personal items that could contain the missing person's DNA, such as baseball caps, toothbrushes, razors and combs.

The only other information given at the news conference was that the total number of buildings destroyed has also risen to 40, painting a clearer picture of the devastation.

Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel said a Transport Canada inspector had inspected the train's locomotive the night before the derailment and had found no problems.

At an evening news conference Lebel said his thoughts and sympathies are with residents of Lac-Mégantic during this time of crisis and the difficult hours, days and weeks ahead.

Source: Montreal Gazette