PV International Desk : Up to 33 people were feared dead Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a freight train carrying fuel plunged into a ravine.
The UN’s radio Okapi spoke of 33 fatalities with others injured or burned in the accident that occurred in the sprawling mineral-rich province of Katanga, which is the size of Spain.
“Up until now the toll is eight dead and several injured. The toll could be significantly higher,” Jean-Marie Tshizainga, the minister of mines of Lualaba province told AFP.
The train, in which the victims were travelling illegally, was running between the country’s second city Lubumbashi to Luena in Katanga.
The train was transporting 13 oil tankers and derailed while climbing a slope near the station of Lubudi. It fell into a ravine and the tankers caught fire, radio Okapi said.
“It’s a freight train that derailed and it wasn’t supposed to be carrying passengers. If there were people on board, we consider them to be illegal travellers,” said Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a senior official from the national railway company.