At least 18 dead after train derails in DR Congo

Published 11.11.2018 20:53
Updated 11.11.2018 20:58

At least 18 people were killed when a train derailed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Sunday.

The train was en route from the city of Kindu to the southeastern city of Lubumbashi when it derailed in the Kasongo territory on Saturday night, local government spokesman Kingombe Kitenge Benoit said.

Another 25 people were injured in the incident, according to the spokesman.

"The brakes gave way when the train was going at top speed," Rehema Omari, stationmaster in the town of Samba near where the accident occurred, told AFP, adding that the driver had fled.

A migration service official said that he saw "at least 30 mangled bodies and others under the cars" of the train.

State rail company SNCC's director general for Lubumbashi, Ilunga Ilunkamba, said experts were on the scene to determine the final toll and investigate the causes of the accident.

SNCC is headquartered in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining capital, where the train had been headed from the central city of Kindu when it derailed near Samba some 280 kilometers (175 miles) to the south, Omari said.

Rail accidents in the sprawling former Belgian colony are frequent and often deadly because of decrepit track and aging locomotives dating from the 1960s.

In November 2017, 35 people, many of them clandestine passengers, were killed when a freight train carrying 13 oil tankers plunged into a ravine in southern Lualaba province.

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