At least 60 people were killed and some 60 others injured when a freight train derailed in the southeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) on Tuesday, national train service officials told Xinhua.
The accident occurred when the speeding train was negotiating a bend at the Katongola bridge, which is near the station at Katongola, a town in the southern Katanga province. The train was traveling from Kamina, a town in Katanga province, to Mwene-Ditu in the province of Kasai-Oriental, one of the richest diamond producing regions in the world. The ill-fated train had hundreds of passengers on board, many of whom were reportedly atop the speeding train. A survivor said when the accident happened, he felt the train shake tramendously before he was thrown out of the carriage as a result of the impact of the train's overturning. He said after the crash he could not find the three passengers sitting next to him and did not know whether they were still alive.
Most of the victims were tradesmen and travelers, including children, said Katongola station chief Jean Ngoy Mozadi. A special investigation team has been set up to examine the cause of the accident and the exact number of casualties. The death toll was feared to rise as some victims were still trapped in the overturned cars, officials said. Train accidents are frequent in the DR Congo because of the poor state of the locomotives and the dilapidated state of the railway line, which was constructed during the colonial period. Xinhua
The country's rail network is currently undergoing a refurbishment paid for by the World Bank.