A train derailment killed at least 73 on Friday in Eseka, Cameroon, after the collapse of the Douala-Yaounde highway, a train route built 30 years ago that connects the two most important cities of the African country.

The incident has caused high traffic in the area, as some vehicles remained stranded. Authorities traveled to the place on Friday to check the damages. They reported at least 73 deaths and more than 500 injured and initiated a joint investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Passengers escape the site of a train derailment in Eseka on October 21, 2016.
Image credit: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images.

Cameroonian President Paul Biya issued instructions to look for more victims and provide them the necessary assistance. He added that most of the injured are being sent to the two main cities of the country to be assisted since the Eseka’s Hospital has only 60 rooms for patients and has already exceeded its capacity.

The government of Cameroon is now building an alternative way to connect the cities, which will take about two hours longer than the Douala-Yaounde highway. This disaster can have serious consequences for the local economy.

Since Wednesday, intense rainfalls were reported in Cameroon. Such rainfalls lasted for more than two days and damaged the Douala-Yaounde highway.

Anonymous reports said the capacity of the train had been exceeded when the accident took place. Camrail, the company in charge of the highway, added five wagons to the train to increase its holding ability from 600 to 1250 passengers without studying safety measures.

There were more than 1,300 passengers on the train, which almost doubled its original capacity. The load of the passengers and the condition of the route triggered the derailment of the train. The actual number of victims is expected to increase because of long travels to hospitals in the country.

Source: The New York Times