YAOUNDE — Death toll in a passenger train derailment on Friday in Cameroon at around 12:00 local time (5 a.m. GMT) has risen to 55, while around 575 people were injured, state radio CRTV reported on Friday night.
The train, from Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to economic capital Douala, derailed in Eseka station in Central Region, around 120 kilometers from Yaounde.
CRTV citing Transport Minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o said the accident left 55 killed and 575 injured, some are in critical conditions.
Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who is out of the country, has asked the government to give assistance to the victims and investigate the reason behind the accident.
Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said on CRTV Friday evening the government had dispatched urgently another train to take the stranded passengers to their destination.
A witness who lives close to the station told Xinhua the train derailed when it approached the station, and said the casualties was high.
Carine, who works as a civil servant, told Xinhua some of her friends were in the train when it derailed, but they were well.
The train accident took place hours after one part of the Yaounde-Douala road caved in following the heavy rain in the night. Many passengers to Yaounde or Douala who would use the road have to choose train, leading the derailed train which left Yaounde Friday morning to Douala took more passengers than usual.
According to reports, the victims’ bodies were deposited at the morgue of Eseka hospital, while the injured were admitted to health center of the city and neighboring localities of Puma, Lolodorf including Douala.
The transport minister led a delegation to the site after the disaster by helicopter.
After the disconnection of road and railway between Yaounde-Douala, Cameroon Airline Coporation on Friday increased the no. of flights to both places to 3 for the convenience of the passengers.
The train derailment accident is not rare in Cameroon. In August 29, 2009, a train from northern city Ngaoundere to Yaounde derailed in the suburb of Yaounde, leaving 5 killed and 275 injured. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com