British Columbia

Runaway locomotive may have triggered train derailment, RCMP says

Mechanical failure may have triggered a CN freight train derailment north of Lillooet, B.C, that killed 2 people and seriously injured another, the RCMP says.

Mechanical failure on a locomotive may have triggered a CN freight train derailment that killedtwo people and seriously injured another in British Columbia, the RCMP says.

A locomotive and a car carrying lumber went off the tracks about 40 kilometres north of Lillooet at about 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Sgt. Marshall Seniuktold CBC News Onlineon Friday there was no debris on the track and that the engine must have experienced some kind of mechanical failure.

Seniuksaidit appearedthelocomotive may have been travelling too fast when it rounded a sharp curve. The lumber car broke away from the engine and rolled over a 300-metre embankment.

Mark Termuende, who was working in a field eight kilometres from the accident, said he saw alocomotive smouldering about 300 metres from the tracks.

"A big dark plume of smoke instantly rising up the hillside," Termuende said. "I could see flames distantly, and it was below the CNR rail line rail grade."

He said a medevac helicopter arrived at the scene and began making trips to the wreckage.

Federal investigators on scene

Federal investigators are on the scene to determinethe cause of the accident, CN spokesman Jim Feeny told CBC News.

"CN deeply regrets to confirm that two crew members were fatally injured in the incident," Feeny said.

The two B.C. crew members were Tom Dodd of Cache Creek and Donald Faulkner of Savona.

A third crew member,Gordon Rhodes,is in stable condition in a Kamloops hospital.

Feeny saidthere areno indications that any environmental damage had occurred as a result of the accident.

The rail line, which primarily carries freight traffic,runs between Vancouver and Prince George. The linewas closed near the site of the accident, butis otherwise unaffected.

Over the past year there have been several train derailments in B.C., including two incidents on the same day in December.

Last August, a CN freight train derailed about 30 kilometres north of Squamish, dumping 41,000 litres of toxic sodium hydroxide into the Cheakamus River canyon.