Rail co. charged in deadly Lac-Megantic train disaster

An explosion and fire from a train explosion is seen in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013 after...

An explosion and fire from a train explosion is seen in Lac-Megantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013 after a 74 car runaway freight train carrying crude oil derailed in the centre of the city. (Steve Poulin/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

The railway company involved in last year's deadly train disaster in Lac-Megantic, Que., and three of its employees will be charged with negligence causing death.

Quebec's Crown Prosecutor Office announced late Monday that the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MM&A) Railway Ltd. and three of its employees -- train conductor Thomas Harding, train operations manager John Demaitre and company controller Richard Labrie -- will face charges in the derailment and explosion in July 6, 2013, that killed 47 people.



Smoke billows from a massive fire caused by a crude oil explosion after a train derailment in Lac Megantic, Que., July 6, 2013. SURETE DU QUEBEC
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"After reviewing all of the evidence, the three individuals and the company are accused of causing the death of 47 people by criminal negligence," the Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

The three men were arrested Monday and will appear in court Tuesday in Lac- Mégantic .

The police tried to break the news to the families of the victims before informing the media. Only two families could not be contacted Monday night.

The train was parked for the night on a main line uphill from the small town of Lac-Megantic.

The train of oil tankers started rolling and eventually derailed, exploding into balls of fire and flattening the centre of the town in the the deadliest railway explosion in Canadian history.



A aerial view of the wreckage of the crude oil train is seen in Lac Megantic, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger
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"I would like to thank the Sûreté du Québec for their investigation," Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement. "I understand that this is difficult for those affected by the tragic incident in Lac Mégantic. As the matter is now before the courts, we have no further comment."

Illinois-based MM&A also faces wrongful-death lawsuits seeking $50 million.


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