Canada prosecutors bring criminal charges in Lac-Megantic railway crash

TORONTO Mon May 12, 2014 9:50pm EDT

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TORONTO May 12 (Reuters) - Canadian authorities have charged three men as well as Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd with criminal negligence following last summer's train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people.

The public prosecutor's office said in a statement that Thomas Harding, Jean Demaitre, Richard Labrie and the railway had all been charged.

"After an analysis of all the evidence, the three individuals and the company are accused of causing the death of 47 people by criminal negligence," the statement said.

Representatives for the three men and railway could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Canadian Press report said the three men, who had been employees of the railway, were placed under arrest late Monday afternoon and will appear in court in Tuesday in Lac-Megantic.

The disaster occurred after a single engineer parked his train for the night on a main line uphill from the small town. The train of oil tankers started rolling and eventually derailed, exploding into balls of fire and flattening the center of the town.

The train was operated by U.S.-based Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of the disaster. (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Additional reporting by Louise Egan in Ottawa; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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