In Summary
  • The train was travelling to the town of Mwene-Ditu in Kasai-Oriental province, one of the richest diamond producing regions in the world.
  • Most of the victims were tradesmen and travellers, including children, an official said.

KINSHASA, Thursday

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 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.

“A special crane with a team specialised in derailments arrived on site at 11:00 p.m. (2100 GMT Wednesday) to lift up the wagons,” health ministry official Felix Kabange Numbi said after visiting the remote accident site with other officials.

The newly purchased goods locomotive, which was bursting with illegal passengers, hurtled off the track in a swampy region Tuesday as it rounded a bend about 65 kilometres north of Kamina in the southeast of the country.

HIGH SPEED ON CURVE

The high speed on the curve caused 15 of the train’s 19 cars to overturn, government spokesman Lambert Mende said. The train was travelling 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 tremendously 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 travellers, 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.