Inquest called into Hudson Bay Railway derailment that killed conductor from The Pas

Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has called an inquest into the Sept. 15, 2018 death of Hudson Bay Railway train conductor Kevin Anderson of The Pas, who died when the train he was on hit a washed-out bridge near Ponton and went off the tracks.

An autopsy after Anderson was declared dead Sept. 16 determined that the cause of the the 38-year-old’s death was multiple blunt force injuries.

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Dr. John. K. Younes called the inquest in accordance to the Fatality Inquiries Act and it will examine the circumstances of Anderson’s death, the co-ordinaton of the multi-agency response to the derailment in a remote and difficult-to-access location, and the policies and protocols used by police, paramedics and other first responders regarding operating in a potentially dangerous setting.

The date and location of the inquest will be determined by Manitoba’s chief provincial court judge and announced at a later date.

Anderson and a 59-year-old engineer were on the train when the derailment occurred around 5:45 p.m. on a Saturday. The derailment occurred west of the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 39 about 150 kilometres southwest of Thompson. Three cars and four rail cars, two of which were carrying propane, went off the track. The engineer suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Winnipeg.

The train was spotted by a helicopter flying overhead and RCMP said Anderson died around 1 a.m. The provincial government said first responders entered the unstable wreckage and worked in a pool of fuel while power was still running to the locomotives. 

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which investigates marine, aviation and rail accidents, said two culverts in the area became blocked sometime between the last inspection and the derailment, stopping water from flowing under the tracks and resulting in it washing away the ground supporting them.

The Teamsters union, to which Anderson belonged, asked for an inquest in October 2018 and Anderson’s family said they wanted an inquest about a month later.

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