The death toll from the crude oil train accident in Quebec this weekend rose to 13 on Monday, as officials announced that up to 40 people are still missing in the wake of the explosion that devastated Lac Mégantic, a small border town.
The The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train was on its way to Maine on Saturday when the train lost control, sending 72 cars full of oil downhill towards the town, where at least five cars derailed and exploded. The missing in the wake of the disaster include many patrons of a crowded cafe near the center of the explosion. The blast took out the town's library and archives, along with several apartment buildings. The Star had a gruesome take on the scene there, as framed by the eerie quiet in the nearby hospital where the expected wounded never arrived:
Bernard Théberge received second-degree burns on his right arm while fleeing from the patio of the downtown Musi-Café, where many are thought to have died, but he said he hadn’t seen
any other burn victims when he went to the hospital Saturday.
One Red Cross volunteer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media put it bluntly: “You have to understand: there are no wounded. They’re all dead.”
Investigators have only searched part of the blast site because the situation there is too dangerous: according to the AP, officials are concerned that some of the remaining train cars at the scene, filled with oil, could explode. As of Monday morning, no one had yet reached the site of the crowded café to search for wounded or, sadly more likely, to count the dead.
Photos: Reuters. Second photo is a handout from the Safety Board of Canada, via Reuters.