Head of rail company denies poor safety record

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) — The president of a railway company whose train caused a fiery crash, leveling much of a Quebec town and killing at least 13 people, denies allegations his company has a spotty safety record.

Edward Burkhardt, the president of Rail World, Inc., said Tuesday that the only significant derailment involving subsidiary Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway was Saturday’s incident when 72 tanker cars carrying oil sped downhill into the town of Lac-Megantic, causing at least five of the cars to explode. Some 40 people remain missing.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation questioned Burkhardt about the train company’s record of eight derailments and 10 spills since 2009 in a TV interview. Burkhardt said the company had only experienced a series of small incidents involving tracks in the past few years.

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