POLITICS

Lac-Megantic, Que., disaster is latest tragedy involving runaway trains

07/09/2013 01:39 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT
An unattended runaway train rolled into Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 6 and exploded into balls of fire, killing at least 15 people and leaving 35 more missing. Some other modern tragedies involving trains out of control:

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Apr. 21, 2010: A passenger train in South Africa carrying dozens of international tourists was stopped at a station in order to be connected to a new locomotive. Before the connection could take place, however, the train accelerated and ran for 19 kilometres before eventually derailing near Pretoria. An investigation later found that that the train’s brake system was faulty. At least three people were killed.

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Aug. 1, 2007: At least 100 people were killed and 128 injured when a freight train travelling through Benaleka, Democratic Republic of Congo experienced brake failure, picked up speed and ultimately derailed on a poorly maintained track. Seven of the train's 10 cars were overturned, trapping many passengers who had hitched rides on the roofs of the cars.

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Jan. 31, 2003: A passenger train departing Sydney, Australia, derailed when the driver suffered a heart atack seconds before approaching a sharp curve in the railway tracks. Seven people were killed in the ensuing derailment.

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Jun. 24, 2002: A passenger train in central Tanzania experienced brake trouble while climbing a hill known as Igandu. The driver made adjustments to the braking system, but the train ultimately rolled back down the hill at high speed and crashed into a nearby freight train. Of the more than 1,200 people on board, 281 were killed.

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May 15, 2001: A train departing Toledo, Ohio, began accelerating unexpectedly when an engineer made a mistake while attempting to adjust brake settings. The 47-car train, which had hazardous chemicals on board, travelled uncontrolled for nearly two hours before being stopped. There were no fatalities and only one injury reported from the incident, which inspired the 2010 movie "Unstoppable."

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Jun. 27, 1988: A Paris commuter train was approaching the Gare de Lyon station when a brake failure caused it to collide with another train that was about to depart. Investigations revealed the failure was triggered when a passenger deployed the emergency brake a few stops earlier. Officials said 56 people died and 57 more were injured in the collision.

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Jan. 27, 1982: Eight cars of an Algerian passenger train became detached from a locomotive while en route to Algiers. The carriages rolled down a steep hill and crashed near the town of Bouhalouane, killing 131 people on board.