DR Congo train derails killing 33: report

Web_photo_congo train accident rescue_22apr2014

This picture taken on April 22, 2014 shows men standing by derailed wagons after a train sped off the rails 65km north of Kamina, in the southern province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo.

LUBUMBASHI, DRC – 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&39;s radio Okapi said there had been 33 fatalities with an unknown number of others injured or burned in the accident in the province of Lualaba.

Jean-Marie Tshizainga, the minister of mines of Lualaba province gave a toll of eight dead and several others injured.

READ: DRC faces rail transport crisis

"The toll could be significantly higher," he told AFP. The train, in which the victims were travelling illegally, was running between the country&39;s second city of Lubumbashi and Luena.

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&39;s a freight train that derailed and it wasn&39;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.

The region has witnessed several deadly train accidents. In 2014, a freight train derailed killing 74 people and injured 163, according to officials but the Red Cross said up to 200 corpses had been buried.

VIDEO: Train collides with car

The national news agency a month later reported 136 deaths.

Another train accident in July 1987 near the Zambian border killed 150 people after crashing into a truck.

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