A train crash in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed at least 60 people, the state rail company and local sources said on Saturday.
“(Currently) the toll is 61 dead, men, women and children (and) 52 injured who have been evacuated,” Marc Manyonga Ndambo, director of infrastructure at the SNCC train operator, told AFP.
Local media quoted the provincial governor Fifi Masuka as saying 60 people had been killed.
The train was a freight service which had been carrying “several hundred stowaways”, said Manyonga said even though this was prohibited.
“Some of the bodies were still trapped in the wagons that had fallen into the ravines,” he added.
Manyonga said the train was made up of 15 wagons, 12 of which were empty, and was coming from Luen in a neighbouring province destined for the mining town of Tenke, close to Kolwezi.
It derailed at 11:50 pm (2150 GMT) on Thursday at the village of Buyofwe, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Kolwezi, “at a place where there are ravines”, into which seven of the 15 wagons fell, he said.
“My team is working hard to clear the track by Monday,” Manyonga added. He did not say how the crash had happened.
Train derailments are common in the DRC, as are shipwrecks of overloaded boats on the country’s lakes and rivers.
Due to the lack of passenger trains or passable roads, people use goods trains to travel long distances.