Toll rises to 32 dead, 91 hurt as DR Congo train derails
Kinshasa, March 18 (PTI/AFP): Thirty-two people were killed and 91 others injured when a freight train carrying stowaways derailed in DR Congo overnight, officials said on Monday, updating an earlier toll of 24 dead.
Officials said there was a large number of children among the dead when the train veered off the tracks in central Kasai province.
Of the injured, 18 were in serious condition, a district official told AFP after arriving at the site on Monday.
The goods train veered off the tracks as it was crossing a bridge over a river about 140 kilometres (85 miles) northwest of the provincial capital Kananga.
“Many carriages fell into the water from the bridge over the Luembe River,” a police official said late on Sunday at Bena Leka train station.
In such a vast country, stowaways tend to be very common.
“We are overwhelmed by the number of injured, we are working urgently,” said Dr Jean Claude Tshimanga who works at the nearby Kakenge hospital when the initial toll stood at 24 dead and 31 injured.
It was the third train accident within the space of a month in central DR Congo. Last month, five people were killed when a passenger train crashed at Kalenda station.
Rail accidents in the sprawling former Belgian colony are frequent and often deadly because of decrepit track and ageing locomotives dating from the 1960s.