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