In Ontario, three are killed and dozens hurt after a Via train skips the tracks

A passenger train travelling between Niagara and Toronto derailed Sunday, pitching six loaded cars off the tracks in Burlington. Three engineers were killed in the crash and at least 46 people injured.

From the Toronto Star:

“I just looked up and I could see people flying all over the place,” said Richard Parsley, 60, who saw the engine flip shortly before his own rail car flew onto its side, breaking two of his ribs and his shoulder blade. “It’s mind-boggling.”

“There was blood everywhere,” said Faisal Abid, 21, seated in the first car.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board, but experts said it appeared the cars came off as the train was crossing tracks; one authority confirmed there was a crew working on the tracks, which prompted the train to switch over to another set.

It says something about the general safety of train travel that this kind of crash makes the news it does. Fatal car accidents are so common they rarely cause a stir outside the region where they occur. For example, a quick Google search turned up this wreck in Alberta, where three dead earned a few paragraphs cribbed from an RCMP press release. A fourth victim died days later, making it, in terms of life lost, a worse calamity than the Via derailment. But despite that, it was a pretty regional story. Compare that to Sunday’s derailment, which vied with the Oscars as the top news across Canada Monday morning. It was a tragic crash. But the surprise of it is in a way reassuring. Fixed links are so generally safe, it’s a shock when they aren’t.

(Note: The few paragraphs on the Alberta wreck were a quick first story. Local outlets followed with longer pieces, but it never became national news on any kind of scale.)

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