Premier Denounces Rail Company's Response to Train Accident

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) - The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec is denouncing the response of railroad executives in the aftermath of a fiery derailment and explosion that left 50 people dead.

Premier Pauline Marois arrived today in Lac-Megantic, the community that was partly demolished by the explosion of oil tanker cars on the runaway train early Saturday.

She said before arriving in the town that there have been "serious gaps" from the railroad company "from not having been there and not communicating with the public." And she described as "deplorable" and "unacceptable" the attitude of Edward Burkhardt, the head of the U.S.-based parent company of the railway company.

Burkhardt himself arrived in the town yesterday with a police escort, and faced jeers from residents. He said he had delayed his visit in order to deal with the crisis from his office in Chicago.

Burkhardt yesterday blamed an engineer for failing to set the brakes properly before the train hurtled down a seven-mile incline, derailed and ignited. He said the engineer had been suspended without pay and was under "police control."

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