Three Acquitted in Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster

In court on Friday jurors acquitted the three former railway employees that were charged with criminal negligence causing death in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.

Locomotive engineer Tom Harding, 56, rail traffic controller Richard Labrie, 59, and operations manager Jean Demaître, 53, were all acquitted.

The jury, composed of eight men and four women were deliberating since Thursday morning in Sherbrooke.

The provincial police organisation, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), has led the recovery of the deceased in Lac-Mégantic, alongside the Bureau du Coroner du Québec.

Following the disaster the two major Class I Canadian railways, Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway, indicated that they would not be leaving unattended locomotives unlocked outside a terminal or yard, and that CPR tank car trains containing regulated commodities would no longer be left unattended on a main line.

On July 6, 2013 an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a grade from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-two people were confirmed dead, with five more missing and presumed dead.

More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed.