KINSHASA, Congo – A passenger train derailed in central Congo and eight cars tumbled off the tracks, killing about 100 people and trapping some passengers in the wreckage, officials said Thursday.
The accident occurred after the brakes failed as the train traveled between the city of Ilebo and the provincial capital of Kananga, said Medard Ilunga, head of Congo’s state railway agency.
Seven cars overturned and an eighth went partly off the tracks just before midnight Wednesday, about 100 miles northwest of Kananga, Ilunga said. The conductor was able to detach the locomotive and go for help.
The accident “resulted in a heavy toll of about 100 dead,” government spokesman Toussaint Tshilombo Send said.
Dozens of people were injured, but officials did not provide a specific figure.
Roads and rail lines are dilapidated in Congo, a country the size of Western Europe. Most of Congo’s railroads were built more than 100 years ago.