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)

(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."

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Jul 8, 2013 1:54 PM CDT
Pressurized tank cars full of crude oil left unattended all night, next to a residential area? What moron dreamed up that "safety" protocol? That's like leaving a bunker full of C4 or dynamite unlocked and unattended.
Jul 8, 2013 12:40 PM CDT
Instant cremation/vaporization? Explosions like that where the fuel gets oxidized rapidly & there is an enormous amount of fuel to keep the fire going can act just like an enormous blowtorch. Similar thing happened in San Bruno, CA in 2010 if memory serves there were a number of people in the homes at ground zero of San Bruno explosion when that explosion occurred & investigators never found any remains of them after they got the fire out because the explosion/fire had so thoroughly cremated the people inside their houses. I kind of remember hearing about one woman who was taking a shower in a house literally near the pipeline explosion epicenter (like less then 100 yards from the rupture point) & all investigators found of her after the fire was put out & the scene had cooled off a few days later was a bit of *her* ashes around the ashes of what was left of the bathroom shower she was in before the explosion. About the only good thing they said of her death was it should've been instantaneous.
Jul 8, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
The bars were still packed with people on a Sat. morning?