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Rail chief blames engineer in deadly crash

  • Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  A  Rail World train crashed into the town killing at least 15 people.  Burkhardt blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

    Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A Rail World train crashed into the town killing at least 15 people. Burkhardt blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

  • A makeshift memorial for victimns of Saturday's oil. trainderailment and explosions is set up in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  Rescuers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson )

    A makeshift memorial for victimns of Saturday's oil. trainderailment and explosions is set up in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Rescuers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson )

  • Angry citizens heckle Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt  as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  A Rail World oil train train crashed into the town, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

    Angry citizens heckle Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A Rail World oil train train crashed into the town, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

  • Environment Canada emergency inspectors check on nine MMA tanker cars that remain on the tracks in Nantes, Quebec, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A train engineer reportedly rushed to borrow a tractor from an area forestry company; grabbed a fireman's suit from an area department; and pushed nine fuel-filled cars weighing 100 tonnes away from the explosive danger on the night of the derailment, according to the company. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot)

    Environment Canada emergency inspectors check on nine MMA tanker cars that remain on the tracks in Nantes, Quebec, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A train engineer reportedly rushed to borrow a tractor from an area forestry company; grabbed a fireman's suit from an area department; and pushed nine fuel-filled cars weighing 100 tonnes away from the explosive danger on the night of the derailment, according to the company. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot)

  • Investigation continues on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, after a train derailed Saturday igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Searchers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

    Investigation continues on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, after a train derailed Saturday igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Searchers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows wrecked oil tankers and debris  from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

    This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

    This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

  • Rail World Inc. President Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Burkhardt  said Wednesday that an employee failed to properly set the brakes of the train that crashed into a town in Quebec, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/ The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

    Rail World Inc. President Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Burkhardt said Wednesday that an employee failed to properly set the brakes of the train that crashed into a town in Quebec, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/ The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

    This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

    This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

    This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6. At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline. (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)

  • Workers comb through debris Tuesday, July 9, 2013, after a train derailed Saturday causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

    Workers comb through debris Tuesday, July 9, 2013, after a train derailed Saturday causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

  • Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  A  Rail World train crashed into the town killing at least 15 people.  Burkhardt blamed the accident on an employee who he said had failed to properly set the brakes.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
  • A makeshift memorial for victimns of Saturday's oil. trainderailment and explosions is set up in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  Rescuers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson )
  • Angry citizens heckle Rail World Inc. president Edward Burkhardt  as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.  A Rail World oil train train crashed into the town, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
  • Environment Canada emergency inspectors check on nine MMA tanker cars that remain on the tracks in Nantes, Quebec, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. A train engineer reportedly rushed to borrow a tractor from an area forestry company; grabbed a fireman's suit from an area department; and pushed nine fuel-filled cars weighing 100 tonnes away from the explosive danger on the night of the derailment, according to the company. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot)
  • Investigation continues on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, after a train derailed Saturday igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Searchers have recovered 15 bodies from the wreckage so far, but they are so badly burnt that authorities have not been able to identify them.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows wrecked oil tankers and debris  from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
  • Rail World Inc. President Edward Burkhardt speaks to the media as he tours Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Burkhardt  said Wednesday that an employee failed to properly set the brakes of the train that crashed into a town in Quebec, killing at least 15 people. (AP Photo/ The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, emergency personnel look over the debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
  • This photo provided by Surete du Quebec, shows debris from a runaway train on Monday, July 8, 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.  A runaway train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil early Saturday, July 6.  At least thirteen people were confirmed dead and nearly 40 others were still missing in a catastrophe that raised questions about the safety of transporting oil by rail instead of pipeline.  (AP Photo/Surete du Quebec, The Canadian Press)
  • Workers comb through debris Tuesday, July 9, 2013, after a train derailed Saturday causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Canadian officials told distraught families yesterday that 30 people still missing after the fiery crash of a runaway oil train are all presumed dead.

Along with 20 bodies found, that would put the death toll from Saturday’s derailment and explosions in this lakeside town at 50.

Hours before that somber meeting, the head of the U.S. railway company whose train crashed made his first visit to Lac-Megantic since the disaster, amid jeers from residents and criticism from politicians, including the Quebec premier.

The rail chief blamed the engineer for failing to set the brakes properly before the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train hurtled down a 7-mile incline, derailed and ignited. All but one of the 73 cars was carrying oil, and at least five exploded.

Edward Burkhardt, president and CEO of parent company Rail World Inc., said the engineer had been suspended without pay and was under “police control.”

Parts of the town had remained too hot and dangerous to enter and find bodies days after the disaster.

“Now we are standing here with a number of 50 persons that we are considering most probably dead in this tragedy,” said Quebec police inspector Michel Forget.

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