Derailed Train Plunges Into Congo Ravine


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About 60 people have been killed and 450 injured after a derailed train plunged into a ravine in Republic of the Congo.


Google map highlighting Pointe-Noire

The accident happened on Monday after the service left the coastal town of Pointe-Noire on the Chemin de Fer Congo Ocean line to the capital Brazzaville.

"Unfortunately the train took a corner that turned out to be fatal," a national rail company source said.

Four of the carriages careered into the ravine.

The source said the train derailed near the station of Yanga, about 40 miles from Pointe-Noire.

At least 50 people were killed on the same line in 2001 - many of the victims burned to death when two trains collided at Mvougounti, 45 miles east of Pointe-Noire.

In 1991, about 100 people died when a passenger train slammed into a freight train, also at Mvougounti.

The lack of roads and the dysfunctional railway system between main towns make travel difficult in the central African state.

They also contribute to the high cost of food and imported goods in the capital and throughout neighbouring land-locked nations.

Chinese engineers started work late last year on a £339m road linking the oil hub of Pointe-Noire with Brazzaville, a project that will involve crossing equatorial forests and steep mountains.

Congo, which exports millions of barrels of oil but remains mostly poor and suffers from poor infrastructure, is seeking to diversify its economy as oil reserves wind down.