MONTREAL - The train engineer at the centre of the Lac-Megantic disaster investigation is emotionally "devastated" by the tragic event, his lawyer says.
Tom Harding has vanished from public sight and his lawyer's comments Tuesday shed some light on how he has responded to the tragedy.
Lawyer Thomas Walsh said his client has been staying at an undisclosed location in the province, on his advice, to avoid the constant barrage of journalists at his Eastern Townships home.
Walsh said he's hoping to get Harding some psychological help.
He said the last 10 days have been difficult for everyone affected by the train derailment — including his client, who was at the helm of the train hours before it destroyed part of Lac-Megantic.
"I used the word 'devastated' and I think that's one word that's applicable, but he's very, very low," Walsh said from his Sherbrooke, Que. offices.
"We're looking to organize something to see if he can meet with someone more professional."
Harding's role is a central question in ongoing investigations into the tragedy; his own company called him a hero one day, then announced the next that he had been suspended amid concerns about his role in the disaster.
He is also named as one of the defendants in an attempted class-action suit.
One key question is whether the veteran railman applied the appropriate number of hand-brakes before ending his shift for the night.
Walsh said Harding has been co-operating fully with authorities and has given his version to authorities investigating the event.
"He was interviewed for a long period of time by the Surete du Quebec (police) and by the safety investigators from Transport Canada last week," Walsh said.
The lawyer said Harding has not been arrested and hasn't been charged with any crime stemming from the accident.
As such, there are no legal conditions placed on his client.
Edward Burkhardt, the head of the rail company, had told reporters last week that his engineer was under "police control" as the subject of a criminal investigation.
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