Netflix has said it will remove controversial footage of a real-life rail disaster from its film Bird Box.

The streaming service confirmed in January that the popular thriller starring Sandra Bullock contained a brief clip from Canada's deadly Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

Over 45 people were killed in 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed in the Quebec town. Dozens of homes and businesses were also destroyed.

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The excerpt was used in an early scene to depict a fictional news story about an apocalyptic scenario as a mysterious affliction spreads around the world.

Bird Box was not the first Netflix production containing images of the disaster: similar footage was found to have been used in the science-fiction drama Travelers.

At the time, the stock footage vendor that provided the production company behind the show said it deeply regretted the footage being “taken out of context and used in entertainment programming”.

It said would contact customers who had purchased any related clips to make them aware “of the sensitive nature of this footage”.

In January, Quebec's culture minister wrote to the CEO of Netflix urging the company to have the clips removed from Bird Box.

Netflix initially said it would not substitute the footage in question, despite protests from the Lac-Mégantic community.

However, the BBC reports that the company has now confirmed that, along with the filmmakers of Bird Box, it has decided to replace the clip.

“We're sorry for any pain caused to the Lac-Mégantic community,” the statement said, without giving a reason for changing its decision.

Netflix said the process to replace the clip worldwide with an outtake from a TV series would take several weeks.

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