Cameroon train derailment toll rises to 70
Yaounde, Oct 23 (IANS) The deaths in Cameroon train derailment mounted to 70, a radio television firm on Sunday cited local authorities as saying.
The accident took place on Friday when the passenger train from Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to economic capital Douala derailed around 12.00 hrs local time.
More than 500 persons have been injured in the accident, which occurred near a station in the small town of Eseka in central region, Efe news reported.
Around 1,200 to 1,300 passengers were travelling on the Camrail inter-city train.
The train was unusually overcrowded because a bridge on the highway connecting the two cities had collapsed after heavy rain.
Witnesses said in order to accommodate extra passengers, more carriages were added to the train.
Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who is abroad, wrote on his official Facebook page: “I instructed the government to provide full assistance to the survivors.”
The President offered his condolences to the families of those killed and declared Monday, October 24, a day of national mourning.
The rescue operation is still continuing. The victims’ bodies were taken to the morgue of Eseka hospital, while the injured were admitted to health centre of the city and neighbouring localities of Puma, Lolodorf and Douala.
It is reported the authorities overnight installed a temporary bridge to replace the collapsed one on the highway.
The traffic has been restored on the Yaounde-Douala road, which is one of the most important roads for trade within Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).
The cause of the deadly derailment is yet unclear.