Transportation Safety Board wraps up on-site investigation in Lac-Megantic

LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is wrapping up its on-site operations in the devastated town of Lac-Megantic.

Investigators told a news conference Thursday they have completed their on-site examination in the Quebec town, following last month’s deadly, fiery derailment of a train carrying crude oil.

Donald Ross of the TSB said the next steps will include numerous tests of the fluid inside the train’s tanker cars to verify the properties of the petroleum product, which set off several fireballs after the crash.

“I think for most people that arrived on the site, they were quite surprised at the extent of the fire and the subsequent explosions that occurred,” said Ross, who added that the liquid that was supposed to be in the rail cars is not seen as flammable enough to create such large blasts.

“We want to make sure that the dangerous goods that were involved here, that they were properly described, that they were properly packaged in the right tank cars — and we’re going to check into all those things.”

Fellow TSB investigator Ed Belkaloul added that the crude oil reacted in an “abnormal” way.

The agency said the laboratory phase will also include the analysis of metallurgical samples, damage records and photographs to determine the viability of the tanker cars involved in the July 6 crash.

In a probe expected to take several months, Ross said the TSB will conduct simulations of the accident and examine some of the wreckage, including the train’s brakes and the wheel sets.

The train derailed in downtown Lac-Megantic on July 6 and set off several massive explosions, killing an estimated 47 people, including five whose bodies have not been found.

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