At least 55 persons have been feared dead with more than 600 others injured after an overloaded train derailed in central Cameroon, leaving debris strewn across nearby tracks as carriages swung off the rails.
Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o, the transport minister, 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.
The minister, via state broadcaster CRTV, said 55 people had been confirmed dead and a further 575 were injured in the incident, updating an earlier toll.
“The cause of the accident is not yet clear,” he said, adding that several of the injured were in a very serious condition.
“Intervention and security teams have been mobilised,” the rail company Camrail, a subsidiary of French investment group Bollore, said.
Rail officials said the train had been carrying 1,300 passengers, instead of the usual 600. The collapse of a bridge along the main highway between the capital and Douala had prompted more people to undertake the journey by rail.