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Cameroon train crash death toll crosses 79

More than 70 people were killed and hundreds injured in the passenger train crash in Cameroon on Friday. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon Oct 22, 2016, 11.18 PM (IST)

The death toll in the Cameroon train disaster went up to 79 on Monday, according to authorities. Nearly 600 people were injured when a packed train derailed between Cameroon's two main cities on Friday.

On Sunday, 11 more bodies were pulled from the debris of the packed passenger train.

"We have received between 60 and 70 bodies at the station this morning," a railway official who asked not to be identified told AFP in Yaounde on Sunday. The train, travelling from the capital Yaounde to the economic hub of Douala, came off the rails near the central city of Eseka at around midday on Friday.

Distraught relatives desperately sought news of missing loved ones with the injured scattered between different hospitals.  

"Some of the wounded are arriving unconscious. We think the death toll will rise," said a railway official. Authorities are working tirelessly to cope with the scale of the disaster. 

Health minister Alim Garga Hayatou after visiting some of the injured said that more information would be released "once we are in control of the whole situation".

He had no information on nationalities although the French foreign ministry said one French national was among the dead.

Investigations are ongoing to determine the causes of the crash. The rail operator Camrail, a subsidiary of French investment group Bollore, said the company was doing everything necessary to "deal with the injured and ensure support for the families affected by the tragedy". 

The train was crammed with people as a collapsed bridge had made travelling the same route by road impossible. The road bridge that collapsed on Thursday night as a result of heavy rain reopened to traffic in both directions on Saturday after emergency work.

The road is one of the busiest in the country and one of the main commercial routes in central Africa, carrying trade towards landlocked Chad and the Central African Republic. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 

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