Fuel train in Canada had been parked before explosion

The train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Canada, had been parked and the conductor was not aboard when "somehow, the train got released".

Watch: Tanker blast hurls flames hundreds of feet in the air

Smoke billows from a fire at the site of the train derailment in Quebec.

"We're not sure what happened, but the engineer did everything by the book. He had parked the train and was waiting for his relief", Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, Inc Vice President Joseph McGonigle said.

A burning train wagon is seen after the explosion. Credit: Reuters

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50 dead in Canada rail disaster

Canadian police have say they have recovered 20 bodies from the Quebec train disaster, and that the 30 people who remain missing are now all presumed dead.