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Head Of Rail Company Denies Poor Safety Record

The president of a railway company whose train caused a fiery crash, leveling much of a Quebec town and killing at least 13 people, denies allegations his company has a spotty safety record.

Lac Meantic, Quebec after oil tanker explosion
Lac Meantic, Quebec after oil tanker explosion (Twitter)

Edward Burkhardt, the president of Rail World, Inc., said Tuesday that the only significant derailment involving subsidiary Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway was Saturday’s incident when 72 tanker cars carrying oil sped downhill into the town of Lac-Megantic, causing at least five of the cars to explode. Some 40 people remain missing.

Burkhardt also said there is evidence that the train may have been tampered with.

“We have evidence of this,” Ed Burkhardt, the president and CEO of the railway’s parent company, told the Montreal Gazette.

“But this is an item that needs further investigation. We need to talk to some people we believe to have knowledge of this.”

But Burkhardt said he doesn’t “believe that the event was malicious or an act of terrorism.”

“There are a number of missing pieces here — but we’d like to have a complete idea about the cause.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation questioned Burkhardt about the train company’s record of eight derailments and 10 spills since 2009 in a TV interview. Burkhardt said the company had only experienced a series of small incidents involving tracks in the past few years.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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