At least 57 people were killed when a passenger train sped off the rails in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said Wednesday, raising an earlier death toll as difficult rescue operations continued in the remote, swampy area.
The newly purchased locomotive flew off the rails Tuesday as it went around a bend in a swampy area in the southeast of the country, causing 15 of the train’s 19 cars to overturn, said the government’s spokesman and a journalist at the scene.
The official death toll was first given as 37 people, but government spokesman Lambert Mende had warned it was likely to rise, and later gave an updated toll of 57, AFP reports.
Other sources put the figure even higher. The journalist said a local official had given a toll of about 60 dead and 86 wounded, while local human rights activist Timothee Mbuya said that “so far at least 100 bodies have been taken from the train and buried, because there’s no morgue.”
The train was travelling north from the town of Kamina in the southern province of Katanga to Mwene-Ditu in the diamond-mining province of Kasai-Oriental.