Lac-Megantic, Quebec — The head of the railway whose runaway train devastated a small Quebec town cast doubt on his engineer’s story Wednesday as he arrived to face insults from survivors and harsh questions from reporters.
Edward Burkhardt said the engineer has been suspended without pay and faces a criminal investigation by Canadian authorities.
He said the engineer reported to railroad managers that he set 11 hand brakes on the train cars before they broke away from their engines, but “I think it’s questionable whether he did.”
“Our general feeling is now that is not true,” said Burkhardt,chairman of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. The engineer had worked for the MM&A for “many years” and “had a completely clear safety record up until Saturday,” Burkhardt said.
Edward Burkhardt, CEO of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways Inc., speaks on Wednesday, July 10, during a news conference. A train with 72 tanker cars carrying crude oil barreled down the track before derailing and exploding in Lac -Megantic, Quebec, on Saturday, July 6.
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