Sunday 11 December 2016

Cameroon train derailment death toll stands at 73, hospital staff say

Published 22/10/2016 | 15:31

A derailed train with coaches on their sides in Eseka, Cameroon (AP)
A derailed train with coaches on their sides in Eseka, Cameroon (AP)

At least 73 people died when a train derailed in Cameroon on Friday, higher than the official death toll of 53, according to rescue workers and hospital staff.

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People at the accident site near Eseka on Saturday continued looking for others injured and dead. Bodies are strewn along the tracks.

Officials have put the death toll at 53 but say it will climb as they race to transport more than 600 injured people to hospitals in the capital, Yaounde, and the port city where the train was going, Douala.

President Paul Biya ordered the evacuation because Eseka's hospital is overwhelmed.

The train carried about 1,300 passengers instead of its capacity of 600.

AP

The passenger load was higher because a road had collapsed due to landslides following heavy rains between Yaounde and Douala.

The 30-year-old railway line and train could not carry the load, officials told state radio.

President Paul Biya ordered the evacuation of the injured to the country's two main cities because Eseka's hospital was overwhelmed, with only about 60 beds, said transport minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o.

"I am calling on everyone to double efforts to save the lives of the injured," Mr Ngo'o said.

One of those injured died as he arrived in Douala, and "we are doing everything possible to save the lives of the close to 200 victims sent to Douala," said governor Ivaha Diboua Dieudonne of the western Littoral region.

The circumstances that led to the accident will be investigated, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said.

AP

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