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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 20:50 GMT
'Dozens die' in Congo train crash
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Dozens of people are feared to have died after being knocked off the top of a train as it crossed a bridge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials say about 60 may have been killed on the train that was travelling from Lubumbashi in the south-east to Kindu in central Maniema Province.

Goods stacked on the roof are believed to have hit support beams on the bridge and knocked passengers off the train.

An eyewitness said most were knocked into a river with a strong current.

Maniema Governor Koloso Sumaili told Reuters news agency that trains that travel on that line always have lots of people and goods on the roof.

"When the train was crossing over a bridge, the beams supporting the bridge swept people and goods off the train and into the river below," he said.

'Too soon'

The accident took place on Monday at 0900 local time (0800 GMT), but news emerged on Tuesday.

Congolese soldier guarding UN helicopter
Infrastructure has been hit by conflicts

Dozens were travelling on the roof to avoid the ticket inspectors or because the train was overcrowded, the BBC's Arnaud Zajtman reports from Kinshasa.

Two people were confirmed dead and five seriously injured, the national railway said, quoted by Agence France Presse news agency.

The company acknowledged that some passengers had fallen into the river.

"Bodies usually surface after two days. It is too soon to give a final toll" from the accident, a local rail official said.

The regional governor said an investigation had been launched.

DR Congo's infrastructure has been shattered by conflicts which have hindered reconstruction.

The 1,400km long track was re-opened earlier this year after being shut for six years.

Frequent derailments means it usually takes the 800 passengers about two weeks to complete the 900km journey on the affected train, our correspondent says.




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