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One of the two male workers who were removed from a train that derailed south of Thompson has died and the second worker has life-threatening injuries, RCMP said.
Around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, the Wabowden detachment received a report of a train derailment at the Minago River crossing on the east-west rail line, located 12 kilometres west of the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 39.
Officers were advised there were two injured crew members from The Pas who were trapped on board and that the train was carrying gasoline and propane.
Officers were flown to the crash site Saturday evening and remained on the scene until rescue personnel and specialized equipment could be brought in.
A 38-year-old worker was pronounced dead at the scene while the 59-year-old was extricated from the locomotive and airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
RCMP said officers will assist Transport Canada with its investigation.
The Arctic Gateway Group, which recently purchased the Hudson Bay Railway, issued a statement Sunday that said police are still notifying the affected families.
It said it is co-operating with the emergency services teams on site and will conduct an internal review to determine the cause of the derailment.
The company says the train had three locomotives and several dozen railcars, some of which were carrying liquefied petroleum.
It said that based on information it has received, it believes that none of the railcars has been compromised.
Thompson Deputy Fire Chief Selby Brown said the workers were trapped in the train for hours.
He said the train went off the tracks on a washed-out trestle bridge in a swampy area. The derailment site is about 600 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
The deadly derailment occurred just one day after Arctic Gateway held a celebratory news conference at The Forks in Winnipeg to mark the end of successful negotiations to buy the problem-plagued northern railway from Omnitrax of Denver.
At the event, representatives of all parties involved — the federal government, 30 First Nations, 11 other northern Manitoba communities and seven communities in Nunavut, Fairfax Financial Holdings and AGT Foods and Ingredients — called it a historic transaction.
Almost 16 months ago, rail service to Churchill, a town on the shore of Hudson Bay, was cut off after a spring storm resulted in massive flooding along the rail line on the portion between Thompson and Churchill. Arctic Gateway has had contractors working to repair the tracks for about a week and reiterated Friday that it hopes to have service to Churchill up and running before winter.
The federal government, through the Western Economic Diversification program, has committed $117 million to the new owners, including $74 million to acquire the rail line and assets and to pay for repairs and $43 million for 10 years worth of ongoing subsidy.
This article first appeared on www.winnipegfreepress.com
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