Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

2013 train crash disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Québec, Canada

The Lac-Mégantic derailment happened on July 6, 2013 in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec at approximately 01:15 EDT.[4] It happened after an unattended 74-car freight train[5] which was carrying Bakken formation crude oil ran away and derailed. The result was a fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. In the disaster, 42 people were confirmed dead[1] and 5 missing people were presumed dead.[2]

Lac-Mégantic derailment
View of Lac-Mégantic on the day of the derailment
Time01:15 EDT (05:15 UTC)
LocationLac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada
Coordinates45°34′40″N 70°53′6″W / 45.57778°N 70.88500°W / 45.57778; -70.88500
OperatorMontreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway
Type of incidentDerailment
Deaths47 (42 confirmed,[1] 5 presumed[2])
Damage30+ building destroyed[3]

The Lac-Mégantic derailment is the fourth deadliest rail accident in Canadian history,[6] as well as the deadliest rail disaster in Canada since the St-Hilaire train disaster in 1864.[7]

On July 8, Canada's monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, issued a message which expressed her and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's, "profound sadness [over the] tragic events that have befallen the town of Lac-Mégantic" and hope "that in time it will be possible to rebuild both the property and the lives of those who have been affected."[8] Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his prayers and condolences to those affected.[9] The President of the United States, Barack Obama, expressed condolences for the "devastating loss of life" and offered American help, if needed.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "As Lac-Mégantic death toll reaches 47, safety board calls for immediate rail-safety changes". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Lac-Mégantic : la SQ met fin à ses recherches". Radio-Canada (in French). Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  3. "1 confirmed dead after unmanned train derails, explodes in Lac-Megantic". CTV News. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  4. "Press Release: Derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec" (PDF). Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  5. "Insight: How a train ran away and devastated a Canadian town". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  6. "10 of Canada's worst train accidents". Maclean's. Archived from the original on 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  7. "Canada train derailment: Death toll at 50; Lac-Megantic residents jeer rail CEO (photos)". Associated Press. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  8. "Queen expresses profound sadness over Lac Megantic disaster". Global News. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  9. "Lac-Megantic Explosions And Fire Sparked By Train Derailment, 5 Confirmed Dead (PHOTOS, VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  10. "Obama offers U.S. help over Lac-Megantic disaster". Global News. Retrieved 2014-03-26.