Tuesday, 30 July 2013

No bodies found, but more victims identified in Lac-Mégantic

After taking two days off, workers in Lac-Mégantic’s Red Zone continued to search on Monday for the remains of the last five victims believed to be buried in the rubble.

Unfortunately, said Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Aurélie Gaendon, no new victims had been found by 7 p.m., so the total number of victims found remained at 42. The SQ said it still believes 47 people were killed when a train pulling 72 tankers of crude oil derailed and exploded in the small Estrie town on July 6.

So far, 34 victims have been identified by the Quebec coroner’s office, which released three additional names Monday morning.

Coroner spokesperson Geneviève Guilbault said the victims had been identified Friday, but the website was only updated after the weekend. It is protocol to give grieving family and friends at least 24-hours’ notice before the names are announced to the public, she said.

The newly-identified on the coroner’s list include 28-year-old Eric Pépin-Lajeunesse, 30-year-old Talitha Coumi Begnoche and 45-year-old Stéphane Lapierre.

Talitha’s two daughters, 9-year-old Bianka and 4-year-old Alyssa Begnoche, have yet to be identified by the coroner’s office, but are also believed to be among the victims. Relatives announced on Facebook shortly after the accident that they were unaccounted for and presumed dead.

Lapierre lived in an apartment above the fated Musi-Café. Pépin-Lajeunesse, whom friends reportedly called “Pep,” worked as a carpenter and was out at the Musi-Café with childhood friends the night of the accident.

As for the SQ’s ongoing investigation efforts this week, Gaendon was unable to confirm how much space in Lac-Mégantic’s destroyed city centre was left to search, or how long it would continue.

Tuesday 30 July 2013



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