Workers comb through debris Tuesday after the Saturday derailment and explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
Canadian authorities said Tuesday they have opened a criminal investigation into the wreck as the death toll climbed to 15 in the small town, with dozens more bodies feared buried in the burned-out ruins.
Quebec police Inspector Michel Forget said investigators have “discovered elements” that have led to a criminal probe. He gave no details but ruled out terrorism.
The death toll rose with the discovery of two more bodies Tuesday. About three dozen more people were missing. The bodies that have been recovered were burned so badly they have yet to be identified.
Investigators zeroed in on whether a fire on the train a few hours before the disaster set off a deadly chain of events that has raised questions about the safety of transporting oil in North America by rail instead of pipeline.
The unmanned Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train broke loose early Saturday and sped downhill in the darkness nearly seven miles before jumping the tracks at 63 mph near the Maine border. All but one of the 73 cars were carrying oil. At least five exploded.
— The Associated Press