Canadian officials find ‘insufficient’ braking on deadly runaway train

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(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.

“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.

By Michael Martinez