Packed Cameroon train derails, killing at least 53 people

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A derailed train is seen in Eseka, Cameroon on Oct. 21, 2016. Photo by Mahamat Mazou Aboubakar/Reuters

A derailed train is seen in Eseka, Cameroon on Oct. 21, 2016. Photo by Mahamat Mazou Aboubakar/Reuters

At least 53 people were killed and some 300 injured after a train traveling between Cameroon’s two largest cities derailed on Friday, state media reported.

The passenger train derailed and overturned nearby the town Eseka, which is about 75 miles away from its departure point in the capital Yaounde, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, Cameroon’s transport minister said today.

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“There was a loud noise. I looked back and the wagons behind us left the rails and started rolling over and over. There was a lot of smoke,” said a Reuters journalist, who was traveling near the train.

Rail officials said the train, which was heading for the port city of Douala, was carrying 1,300 passengers instead of the usual capacity of 600, the Associated Press reported.

The accident occurred around 11 a.m. local time Friday, following several days of heavy rain that triggered landslides that affected roads in the area, AP reported.

Cameroon Radio Television reported that rescue teams were dispatched to the scene of the crash. People injured were transported to a nearby hospital.

According to Reuters, train derailments are “relatively common” in West and Central Africa due to poor maintenance of the rail lines.

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