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Train Engineer Thomas Harding: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know

Police tape marks the outside boundary of the "red zone" crash site (Getty Images)

Police tape marks the outside boundary of the “red zone” crash site (Getty Images)

The train engineer that was responsible for the 72-car train Lac-Mégantic, Quebec train derailment and explosion spoke out for the first time through his lawyer, Thomas Walsh. The engineer has been identified as Farnham, QC native, Thomas Harding.


1. Harding Has Gone into Hiding

A devistated downtown is shown in Lac-Megantic, Quebec (Getty Images)

A devistated downtown is shown in Lac-Megantic, Quebec (Getty Images)

According to his lawyers, Mr. Harding has gone into hiding at their suggestion in an effort to avoid the media spotlight. The engineer is reportedly “having a difficult time” and that he doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it, which is understandable given the circumstances.


2. Harding Was Questioned for Ten Hours by Government Officials Following the Accident

A woman brings a bouquet of flowers to a public vigil at the Presbyteres-Eglises in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada (Getty Images)

A woman brings a bouquet of flowers to a public vigil at the Presbyteres-Eglises in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada (Getty Images)

Harding was was questioned by the Sûreté du Québec for at least 10 hours following the crash. He was then questioned by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada for another four hours.


3. Was Sleeping At The Time Of The Explosion

 Local residents during a candle-lit vigil, at the Presbytres-Eglises Catholiques in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada (Getty Images)

Local residents during a candle-lit vigil, at the Presbytres-Eglises Catholiques in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada (Getty Images)

Harding was reported to have been sleeping at the l’Eau Berge Motel, where all of the railroad employees stay while working in Lac-Mégantic, at the time of the accident. The motel is located just meters away from where the place of derailment.


4. Harding Was A Veteran In His Field

Marcel Larrivee (L) comforts Patricia Landry after the pair first witnessed the aftermath of the destruction (Getty Images)

Marcel Larrivee (L) comforts Patricia Landry after the pair first witnessed the aftermath of the destruction (Getty Images)

Thomas Harding has worked for the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) for several decades. His colleagues and friends described him as a “high-calibre engineer” and said he is “extremely competent.” People who have known him since childhood remember him always having a passion for trains and wanting to following in his fathers footsteps into train engineering.


5. The Accident Killed An Estimated 50 People

Local residents attend a public vigil at the Presbyteres-Eglises in Lac-Megantic, Quebec (Getty Images)

Local residents attend a public vigil at the Presbyteres-Eglises in Lac-Megantic, Quebec (Getty Images)

The train derailment and subsequent explosion resulted in the death and vaporizing of an estimated 50 people.


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