Death Toll Climbs to 61 in Wake of DR Congo Train Crash, Officials Confirm

The engine involved in a deadly train derailment two days earlier sits in the train yard at Kananga, Congo, Friday, August 3, 2007. Eight railway cars tumbled off the tracks, killing about 100 people and trapping some passengers in the wreckage, after the train’s brakes failed, officials said Thursday. The conductor was able to detach the locomotive and go for help.Late Thursday night, a train traveling from the town of Mueneditu to Lubumbashi, the third-largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, derailed as the cars were traveling up a slope, triggering a multi-carriage crash, according to early reports from local administrators. State rail company officials in the DRC and local sources have confirmed that at least 61 people are dead and another 52 injured and transported from the scene of the deadly late Thursday night derailment.

“[Currently] the toll is 61 dead, men, women and children [and] 52 injured who have been evacuated,” Marc Manyonga Ndambo, director of infrastructure at the Société Nationale des chemins de fer du Congo (SNCC), told AFP in a Saturday update.

The SNCC translates to the “National Railway Company of the Congo.”The Lualaba provincial governor, Fifi Masuka Saini, reported that at least 60 people lost their lives in the incident.Manyonga noted that the freight train was transporting “several hundred stowaways” at the time of the crash.“Some of the bodies were still trapped in the wagons that had fallen into the ravines,” the SNCC official revealed.Authorities detailed that the train derailed around 11:50 p.m., local time, on Thursday, near the Lualaba village of Buyofwe. The incident occurred approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the capital city of Kolwezi.Manyonga detailed that his team will continue working to clean up the tracks, which should be by Monday.Jean-Serge Lumu, another provincial official, told reporters that a preliminary assessment indicated that “seven bodies were recovered by families,” while “53 others are still at the accident scene.”Those include a child under the age of two, who lost both parents in the Thursday night tragedy.In October 2021, at least 25 people were reported dead after a train derailed near the Lualaba town of Kanzenze. Authorities attributed the crash to the freight train’s age, as well as to poor track conditions.

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