The bodies of another five victims have been discovered in Lac-Mégantic, raising the total number to 33, said Quebec provincial police Insp. Michel Forget at a press conference Saturday afternoon.
The Quebec coroner's office said it has identified another victim, and released the names of seven others. Spokesperson Geneviève Guilbault said the bodies of nine victims have been identified, but only 93-year-old Elianne Parenteau has been named by the coroner's office.
The search continues
Emergency crews continue to search the red zone — the area most affected by the disaster — for the remaining victims. Of the 50 people missing and presumed dead, another 17 are unaccounted for.
Forget said firefighters from over 60 forces across Canada and the U.S. are assisting in searching the red zone, facing extreme heat and dangerous fumes from contaminated soil.
Forget described the search as being like an "archeological dig," that will likely take weeks of digging through rubble, involving specialized crews.
Vigils for victims
Vigils in Lac-Mégantic, Montreal and in other communities across Quebec are being held to mourn the victims of last Saturday’s train explosion.
About 100 people held candles and sat silently at Place d’Armes in downtown Montreal Friday evening.
- Faces of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy
In Lac-Mégantic, a quiet vigil at Ste-Agnès church started around 8 p.m.
Last Saturday, the small town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships was rocked by a train derailment and explosion that took out most of the town's centre. The train was carrying more than 70 cars of crude oil.
One of the vigils planned for Friday night, at the Montignac high school, was cancelled for security reasons.
Still, a number of residents showed up at the church to commemorate the friends and family members they and their community lost.
The next afternoon, on Saturday, residents stood solemnly on the steps of Ste-Agnès church at noon while the church rang its bell 50 times, representing the dead and missing. The bells continued to ring for another 10 minutes, followed by a minute of silence.
A benefit concert was held at the Lambton hotel near Lac-Mégantic for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
- 8 victims ID'd in Lac-Mégantic, coroner's office says
Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche said she was “very touched” by the outpouring of support from other areas of Quebec, though she encouraged people to gather to grieve privately.
“We’re trying to survive, we’re keeping on, life goes on,” said Patrick Champagne-Madore, who attended the vigil with his sister and two others.
He said it was important to him to support his fellow residents through these trying times.