2014 Katanga train derailment

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2014 Katanga train derailment
Details
Date 22 April 2014
Time between 10:00 and 11:00 local time (UTC+2:00)
Location Near Katongola Bridge[1] 8°23′30″S 24°39′49″E / 8.39167°S 24.66361°E / -8.39167; 24.66361
Country  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rail line KaminaIlebo
Operator Congo Railroad Company
Type of incident Derailment
Cause Driving over speed limit[2]
Statistics
Trains 1
Deaths 63[2]
Injuries 162[3]

On 22 April 2014, a freight train derailed near the Katongola Bridge[1] in Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The train was carrying hundreds of illegal passengers at the time of the crash, leading to 48 deaths and in excess of 150 injuries.

Background[edit]

The rail system of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is poorly maintained and has fallen into a state of disrepair after years of conflict within the country. Much of the system was built during the colonial period and received few upgrades since the end of Belgian rule in 1960 until a recent program financed by the World Bank. Employees of the Congo Railway Company (SNCC), the country's public rail company, often sell illegal tickets to passengers to boost their income. Other people simply hop on trains as they travel to get around the country.[2][4] Train crashes are fairly frequent as a result of the overloading and poor infrastructure.[3] In 2007, more than 100 people were killed when a freight train derailed in Kasai Occidental.[5]

Derailment[edit]

Derailment site is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Derailment site
Derailment site
Derailment site (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Between 10:00 and 11:00 local time (8:00–9:00 UTC) on 22 April 2014, a freight train derailed near Katongola, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) north of Kamina in the Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.[3][2][4] The derailment included the train's two engines and 15 of 19 carriages.[3][5]

Although not a passenger train, it was carrying hundreds of passengers at the time of the crash.[2] According to eyewitnesses, the train was filled with passengers both on the inside and on the roofs of the train cars.[3] Although the crash occurred in the morning, rescuers did not arrive on scene until the early evening.[2] Army medics and MONUSCO personnel were aided by a heavy crane in their efforts to free people trapped under piles of debris.[3] Initial reports said as many as 63 people had been killed in the accident, but the death toll was later revised to 48.[3][2] An additional 160 people were injured, 12 of them seriously.[3]

Cause[edit]

The initial investigation suggested that the train was traveling at about 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph), which is above the 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph) speed limit. The train was unable to slow sufficiently to get around a curve in the track and derailed.[2] According to a government spokesman, the train apparently was speeding because of an engine failure.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "At least 60 killed in DR Congo train crash". Xinhua News Agency. 24 April 2014. Archived from the original on 11 May 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "DR Congo train in deadly Katanga derailment". BBC Africa. 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h AAP (24 April 2014). "DR Congo train crash Ssarch continues: Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they are still trying rescue people trapped in the mangled wreckage of a derailed train". SBS World News. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Scores killed in DR Congo train crash". Al Jazeera. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "At least 50 killed in Congo train crash: sources". Reuters. 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.