MONTREAL — The Quebec coroner's office has warned families that it could be weeks before the bodies of the victims of the Lac-Megantic, Que., disaster are released for proper funerals.
Only four victims have so far had funerals, over one month since the train disaster killed 47 people in the small Quebec town of 6,000.
The explosions that followed the train derailment melted oil tankers and pulverized city blocks. The Quebec coroner's office spokeswoman warned at the time that the conditions of the bodies would reflect the intensity of the flames.
Guilbault told families this week that although the coroner's office didn't want to make false promises, the large majority of the bodies will likely be released before Christmas.
"We can't release the bodies right away because it could compromise the chances of identifying others," she explained.
So far, 42 bodies have been found in the rubble of Lac-Megantic's downtown. Recovery teams are still looking for the remains of five people. Thirty-eight of the 42 bodies have been identified.
Fewer than 10 bodies have been released to families.
Only three more funerals are planned for the coming weeks.
"The task is very complex," said Guilbault. However, she said that when a body is ready to be released, "the family is informed within 15 minutes."
Pascal Charest, who lost his partner and two daughters in the tragedy, told QMI Agency he will wait for all three bodies before holding a ceremony.
"Of course we will wait," he said. "They left together and they will be buried together."