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Published: November 27th 2009
Source: Canadian Press
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BOSTON BAR, B.C. - The Transportation Safety Board has ordered a full investigation of a CN Rail derailment in southern B.C. last week that saw two men trapped in a locomotive while thousands of litres of diesel fuel leaked out.

The investigation is the first to look at a weather-related derailment since the 1997 Fraser Canyon washout that killed two Kamloops railroaders, said Dan Holbrook, Western Canada manager for the federal board.

"Sometimes there are occurrences (where deaths are involved) and it's clear when we investigate,'' Holbrook said Thursday. "In this case there's another issue -- a locomotive overturned and the operators were trapped for several hours.''

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has expressed concerns about the accident, noting it took two hours for rescue crews to reach the men. The area, just south of Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon, experienced heavy rains earlier in the week, hampering rescue efforts.

The site of the crash was more than six kilometres from the access point used by rescue crews. The overturned locomotive spilled diesel fuel throughout the area.

"We're lucky there wasn't a post-incident fire,'' Holbrook said.

The train's locomotive engineer was knocked out in the derailment. The men, both from Vancouver, were sent to hospital with injuries that included cuts, scrapes and a broken thumb.

Kelli Svendsen, a spokeswoman with CN Rail, said the corporation will co-operate with the investigation.

Holbrook said investigations of this type generally take about a year.

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