At least 55 people were killed and nearly 600 injured when an overloaded passenger train travelling between Cameroon’s two largest cities derailed and overturned and the cause of the accident is not yet clear.
Transport Minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngoo said Friday’s accident took place near the central town of Eseka – 120km west of the capital Yaounde – as the train travelled to the economic hub of Douala; when the accident occurred around 11 a.m. local time (1000 GMT). said the minister, via state broadcaster CRTV.
Before its departure from Yaounde, a railway employee said additional eight wagons had been added to the train to accommodate extra passengers, though it was unclear if that played a role in the accident; Reuters journalist reports.
“Intervention and security teams have been mobilised,” the rail company Camrail said.
The route is one of the busiest in the country with trains to Chad and the Central African Republic also using the axis, which has a poor safety record.
In 2014, Cameroon began building its first highway between the two towns, but the work is not due to be completed until 2018.