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Canadian officials find 'insufficient' braking on deadly runaway train

By Michael Martinez, CNN
July 20, 2013 -- Updated 0609 GMT (1409 HKT)
An unmanned train carrying 72 tankers of crude oil plowed into the heart of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday, devastating the town and shocking people in Canada and beyond. Daniel Poulin, a longtime resident of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and editor of a local monthly newspaper, lost friends in the train disaster. An unmanned train carrying 72 tankers of crude oil plowed into the heart of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday, devastating the town and shocking people in Canada and beyond. Daniel Poulin, a longtime resident of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and editor of a local monthly newspaper, lost friends in the train disaster.
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A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
A Canadian town is devastated
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Canadian agency determines brake force was "insufficient" on train
  • Unmanned train crashed into town of Lac-Megantic this month
  • Train incident killed 38 people

(CNN) -- Canada's Transportation Safety Board has determined "the braking force applied was insufficient to hold" an unmanned train that became a runaway and crashed into the town of Lac-Megantic this month, killing 38 people, the agency said Friday.

Death toll rises in Canadian disaster
'There are no words to say how we feel'

"The ongoing investigation has determined that the braking force applied was insufficient to hold the train on the 1.2% descending slope between Nantes and Lac-Mégantic," the board said.

The unmanned 73-car train had been parked in the neighboring Quebec town of Nantes on July 6 but it suddenly rolled into motion after the engineer went to a hotel.

The train slammed into the center of Lac-Megantic, and tank cars full of oil exploded and burned in the heart of the commercial district.

The rail company contends the train's engineer failed to set the brakes properly, but the engineer said he reported to managers that he set 11 hand brakes on the train cars before they broke away from their engines.

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