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Crew member dead after train derailment south of Thompson, another seriously injured
Arctic Gateway Group said one of its employees has died following a train derailment south of Thompson, Man. Saturday evening.
“Sadly, one of our employees working on the locomotive has been confirmed by authorities as deceased. A second employee has sustained serious injuries and has been airlifted to hospital. The RCMP is in the process of notifying the families. The Arctic Gateway Group will be also be making direct contact with family members and all of our employees and communities in the coming days as we all attempt to cope with this tragedy,” said a news release issued by the company Sunday afternoon.
Thompson Fire and Emergency Services said two workers were extricated from a train which derailed near Ponton, Man., about 160 km south of Thompson, Saturday evening around 6:15 p.m.
Deputy Chief Selby Brown said the workers were trapped in the train for hours as first responders tried to free them.
He said one of the people sustained serious injuries in the incident, after the train went off the tracks on a washed-out trestle bridge in a swampy area at about 6:30 p.m.
It wasn't until 1:30 a.m. that both workers were freed.
RCMP said a 38-year-old man from The Pas was pronounced dead on scene.
Brown said the train was carrying a mix of butane and petroleum gas, and no leaks were reported.
“There were a total of 27 rail cars. About five or six were off the track, the rest in disarray,” said Lt. Adrienne Burton with Thompson Fire and Emergency Services in a phone call with CTV News Sunday.
“It wasn’t initially clear if there was a leak, but it was later determined, there was no risk to public safety,” Burton said.
"On behalf of the entire Arctic Gateway Group, and all of our employees, our hearts go out to the families of these dedicated employees", said Murad Al-Katib, one of the group’s partners.
Al-Katib told CTV News he was travelling to site Sunday. He said inspections have been done on a regular basis along the rail line, including this week.
"We have said repeatedly that we will not compromise speed for safety and this is a stark reminder for us as we repair the northern section of the rail line to Churchill."
Arctic Gateway Group said it is cooperating with emergency services teams on site and will also be conducting a full internal review to determine the cause of the derailment.
The group said members of AGT's Mobil rail team have also been dispatched to the site of the derailment to join the Superintendent of the Hudson Bay Railway who has been present at the scene of the derailment since Saturday night.
TRAPPED IN FRONT LOCOMOTIVE
Burton said both employees are men and are conductors with Hudson Bay Rail Line.
“They were trapped in the front locomotive,” she said. “Because of the way of the train derailed.”
Burton said one man was taken to hospital in Thompson and then airlifted to Winnipeg. RCMP said the 59-year-old man from The Pas suffered life-threatening injuries.
TRAIN DERAILED ON A BRIDGE
The derailement happened on a bridge over a small creek, the bridge gave way, Burton said.
“It appeared the ground beneath the tracks eroded due to rain, that was our guess,” she said.
On Monday the Transportation Safety Board said in a statement it is sending an investigator to the derailment to "gather information and assess the occurrence."
RCMP said it will be assisting Transport Canada in its investigation.
-With files from The Canadian Press