Victims Feared 'Vaporized' in Runaway Train Inferno
40 still missing after Quebec disaster
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2013 3:28 AM CDT
Updated Jul 8, 2013 7:06 AM CDT
The remains of tanker cars lie burnt out in the downtown core of Lac Megantic, Quebec.    (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS,Ryan Remiorz)
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(Newser) – Around 40 people are still missing after the derailment and explosion of a runaway train in Quebec, and the blast was so intense that authorities fear there may be nothing left of some victims. The hospital in Lac Megantic, which had been braced for huge numbers of casualties, is "eerily quiet," the Toronto Star finds. "You have to understand: there are no wounded. They’re all dead," a Red Cross volunteer says. All but one of the train's 72 cars were carrying crude oil when it exploded in the heart of the small town early Saturday morning, when the bars were still packed with people, the AP reports.

Five people have been confirmed dead after what could turn out to be Canada's deadliest rail disaster in more than a century but it has not yet been possible to identify the remains. Prime Minister Stephen Harper likened the scene to a war zone after visiting the devastated town yesterday. "This is an unbelievable disaster," he said. "This is an enormous area, 30 buildings just completely destroyed, for all intents and purposes incinerated. There isn't a family that is not affected by this."