Photos From The Devastating Scene Of The Quebec Train Crash

canada quebec train crash fire

Early in the morning of July 6, a 72-car train loaded with crude oil ran out of control and crashed into the centre of a small Quebec town.

The resulting inferno — so large it could easily be spotted in satellite imagery — leveled entire blocks and killed nearly 50 people.

Officials from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board immediately headed out to Lac-Mégantic to find the cause of the disaster. 

Along with updates on their findings, officials have released photos from the scene of the accident and its aftermath.

The images of the blaze and resulting destruction are hard to believe.

The train consisted of five locomotives and 72 tanker cars full of crude oil.

It had been parked overnight at the top of a hill, but somehow the brakes failed or were released, and the train rolled down, derailed, and crashed into the town.

Witnesses reported as many as six explosions, and a huge inferno engulfed much of the small town.

(Source: AFP)

The next morning, the extent of the destruction could be seen, while firefighters continued to battle flames.

The derailed cars were blackened by fire, and several blocks were totally leveled.

The death toll stands at 47.

TSB investigators are coordinating their activities with Quebec's police force, the Sûreté du Québec. This week, police raided the offices of the rail operator, as part of a criminal probe into the accident.

American investigators are on the scene, too. Here, two National Transportation Safety Board officials prepare for 3D imaging.

Investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board preparing for 3D imaging

Their Canadian counterparts are examining one of the locomotives, which detached from the rest of the cars.

Others are looking at the tank cars.

Here, two investigators discuss how a gas detector works.

With all the hazardous materials around, wearing a gas mask is a good idea.

TSB officials are looking at the train's hand brakes, a focus of the investigation.

With information from the locomotive event recorder (pictured) and the braking unit at the back of the train, they know what positions the train's controls were in after the accident.

The investigation is still going, and will likely take a while. The TSB does not provide a specific timeframe, but says it 'takes the time it needs to conduct a thorough investigation and produce a report that advances safety.'

Here's what's going on with another train system.

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