28 Jul 2013

Town mourns dead in train disaster

9:13 am on 28 July 2013

Mourners filled the streets of the town of Lac-Megantic in Canada on Saturday as the families of the 47 people killed in a railway disaster three weeks ago, attended a memorial service.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois who among those who attended.

A runaway train hauling 72 crude oil tanker cars derailed in the centre of town on 6 July and exploded, destroying dozens of buildings.

A trumpeter played Ave Maria to the mourners outside St Agnes church as they watched the service on a massive screen.

So far 42 bodies have been found amid the rubble. Another five people are missing, presumed dead. Many of the dead were young people at a bar close to the blasts.

''Our town ... has lost its children," said Father Steve Lemay, the parish priest.

The train, owned by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, was parked on the main line outside of Lac-Megantic by an operator, who left it unattended for the night. It then began moving, gaining speed as it rolled downhill.

The centre of Lac-Megantic is still fenced off as the search for bodies and evidence continues.