Nightly News   |  July 07, 2013

Investigators fear rising death toll from derailed Canadian train

At least five people were killed when a runaway freight train set off a series of explosions in a small Canadian town. Authorities fear the number of dead will rise dramatically when investigators locate the nearly 40 people missing, NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now to the search and rescue across the u.s. border after yesterday's deadly oil train explosion in quebec. a fire chief has compared the devastation to that scene in a war zone . zozs are missing and people are fearing the worst tonight.

>> reporter: good evening. the death toll now stands at five but that could be deceptively low as investigators have not been able to get to the heart of the crash. viewed from above, it looks like the aftermath of a bomb. a train full of crude oil derailed and exploded early saturday morning, sending up a massive fireball.

>> we heard a big sound , a very big sound , and we see the train coming very fast. we see it a few seconds. and then there was explosion.

>> one after another, the blast lasted for hours forcing 2,000 to evac wait the downtown area . and now 40 people still unacted for.

>> everybody knows at least one person who is dead or missing.

>> reporter: this morning, more than 32 hours after the accident, the fires were still burning . and the recovery effort stalled. fears of just what investigators will find.

>> for skeeter reasons we've only got the areas that are cleared that we can go in.

>> reporter: this afternoon concerned about local waters. no official cause of the crash right now. but a spokesman tells nbc news an engineer had parked the train about seven mile outside of the town for an overnight driver's shift change. then during the night the fuel cars somehow detached from the train's locomotives and rolled down hill into the down rerailing and then exploding. today local reporters asked about growing anger towards the rail company.

>> i understand emotions here on the subject are very high. you know, the information that i've seen about what has transpired, it may not be complete, but it is very, very concerning about why this occurred with that all said, there are proper authorities to investigate this.

>> reporter: now back out here live, they've been pouring water down on that scene all day long. the last two containers that were on fire have been contained. it's not yet safe to approach because of the high pressure . one of the reasons they're so concerned about the death toll going higher, there's a popular nightclub and it happened at 1:00 arm r a.m. on a saturday morning. they're not quite sure what they're going to find down there.

>> thank you.