KINSHASA- About a hundred people died in a train accident in Congo overnight
in which seven cars flipped off of the rails, officials in the Central African
country said Thursday.
Rescue workers had pulled at least 70 bodies out of the wreckage by late
Thursday, but others were still trapped under the rail cars, a witness told the
country's U.N.-backed radio station, Radio Okapi.
The train's locomotive stopped responding to controls as it traveled between
the cities of Ilebo and Kananga late Wednesday, leaving the conductor without a
way to brake, said Medard Ilunga, head of Congo's state railway agency.
Seven cars overturned in the accident just before midnight, while another was
leaning part way off the track Thursday, he said. Ilunga added that the
conductor was able to detach the locomotive to go for help after the
"The accident that occurred Wednesday resulted in a heavy toll of about 100
dead," government spokesman Toussaint Tshilombo Send told the Associated Press.
Government reports and those of railway officials had previously put the death
toll at about 30, with 27 wounded.
Send said the president had sent a mission to the site to help in the rescue
effort and comfort the families. He added that an investigation will be mounted
into the accident.
Injured passengers were being carried on people's backs and on bicycles to a
hospital 10 kilometers (6 miles) away from the accident site, Radio Okapi
The U.N. has sent helicopters with doctors, nurses and medical equipment to
the site about 170 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Kananga _ the capital of
Congo's Kasai Occidental province, said Kemal Saiki, spokesman for the United
Nation's peacekeeping operation in the Central African nation.