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International Railroad Discussion > Congo Train Derailment Kills 100

Date: 08/03/07 06:59
Congo Train Derailment Kills 100
Author: BobE

Passenger Train Derails in Congo, Killing 100 and Trapping Others

Published: August 3, 2007

KINSHASA, Congo, Aug. 2 (AP) — A passenger train derailed in central Congo late on Wednesday night and eight cars tumbled off the tracks, killing about 100 people and trapping some passengers in the wreckage, officials said Thursday.

The accident occurred after the brakes failed as the train traveled near Benaleka, between the city of Ilebo and the provincial capital of Kananga, said Medard Ilunga, director of Congo’s state railway agency.

Seven cars overturned and an eighth went partly off the tracks just before midnight on Wednesday, about 100 miles northwest of Kananga, Mr. Ilunga said. The conductor was able to detach the locomotive and go for help.

The accident “resulted in a heavy toll of about 100 dead,” said a government spokesman, Toussaint Tshilombo Send.

Dozens of people were injured, but officials did not provide a specific figure or give any details of how seriously they were hurt.

Roads and rail lines are seriously dilapidated in Congo, a country the size of Western Europe.

Most of Congo’s railroads were built more than 100 years ago, when the country was a Belgian colony.

Rescue workers had pulled at least 70 bodies out of the wreckage by late Thursday, but other victims were still trapped under the rail cars, according to a report on the country’s United Nations-backed radio station, Radio Okapi.

Injured passengers were being carried on people’s backs and on bicycles to a hospital six miles away, Radio Okapi said.

Mr. Send said the government had sent crews to the crash site to help in the rescue effort and to comfort the victims’ families.

He added that there would be an investigation into the accident. In addition, the United Nations has sent helicopters with doctors, nurses and medical equipment to help, said Kemal Saiki, spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Congo.

The United Nations has a large, established force in Congo to help the embattled country in its transition to democracy after decades of war and corrupt dictatorship.

Date: 08/03/07 16:42
Re: Congo Train Derailment Kills 100
Author: YardEngine

"Injured passengers were being carried on people’s backs and on bicycles to a hospital six miles away, Radio Okapi said..."

Wow, reading this article made me realize how lucky many of us are to not have to depend on bicycles or other people's backs to be brought to the hospital in an emergency situation. Of course, rescue in remote areas ANYWHERE is always a huge challenge. I have a lot of respect for the emergency responders and others who are helping rescue/transport the victims. Thanks for the news posting...

Date: 08/09/07 18:33
Re: Congo Train Derailment Kills 100
Author: rebel

I understand that the Congo River-Railway transportation system is in total disrepair.

Date: 08/10/07 12:25
Re: Congo Train Derailment Kills 100
Author: Adamscharters

As the Congo has been renamed, it has gotten progressively worse.

if you have any interest in the country see the movie Lumamba, about the murder of Patrice Lumamba.


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