Deadly train derailment in Quebec carried Bakken crude

[Story updated July 10 with rising death toll, number of missing]

A runaway train carrying crude oil from the Bakken formation derailed early July 6 in Lac Megantic, Que., resulting in fires and explosions that destroyed much of the town, leaving dozens dead or missing, Canadian authorities said.

As of July 10, authorities said at least 15 were dead and 60 were missing.

The train was operated by Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc. (MMA), a division of Rail World Inc. The train had 72 carloads of crude bound for Irving Oil Ltd.'s refinery in Saint John, NB.

MMA said the train was stopped during a crew rest outside Lac Megantic when the train started to roll, unmanned, about 7 miles before derailing in Lac Megantic, which has a population of 6,000.

MMA said an engineer inspected the train and reported one of the locomotives was running, and that its air brake was engaged. Subsequent to that inspection, the locomotive was shut down, which might have released the brake, said MMA, which is cooperating with an investigation into the incident.

Development of unconventional oil fields in North Dakota and also in Texas during the last 5 years has resulted in more crude oil shipments by rail pending completion of pipelines.

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