Video will begin in 5 seconds.
Railway CEO says sabotage not suspected
The head of the company whose train exploded, devastating a small Quebec town, says the disaster may be due to crucial hand brakes not set properly.
A lone engineer failed to set brakes properly on a train that derailed and exploded in a small Canadian town, killing at least 15 people, the railway's chairman says.
"Adequate hand brakes were not set on this train and it was the engineer's responsibility to set them," Edward Burkhardt, the chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, said while visiting the scene of the accident.
Mr Burkhardt previously blamed firefighters in Nantes for the disaster, saying they unwittingly unlocked the train's air brakes when they shut down the locomotive's engines to douse a small unrelated fire hours before the Lac-Megantic disaster.
The town of Lac Megantic lays in ruins after the runaway freight train derailed and exploded in the middle of the night on July 6. Photo: AP
He clarified on Wednesday that the shutdown of the air brakes "was an important causal factor in this whole thing."
But he added, "The fact that when the air brakes released on the locomotive the train ran away would indicate that the hand brakes were not properly applied."
Mr Burkhardt faced angry residents when he arrived in Lac-Megantic to survey the devastation
The massive blaze sparked by the crash on Saturday tore through homes and businesses, razing part of Lac-Megantic, a town of 6000 located east of Montreal near the US border.
The blaze forced about 2000 residents to flee their homes, though many of them started returning on Tuesday.
The freight train had been stopped for a crew change in the nearby town of Nantes when it began to roll downhill without a conductor towards Lac-Megantic, several kilometres away.
It derailed at a curve in the tracks and several cars exploded.