Tanzania: Prime Minister Edward Lowassa consoled crash victims
Posted by African Press International on March 5, 2007
Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) A passenger train derailed at Cheyo A, 6 km from the Tabora town railway station in western Tanzania, and injured at least 71 people, APA learnt on Friday.
The injured, 15 of whom were said to be critical, were admitted to the Tabora regional hospital in Kitete, according to the Tanzania Railway Corporation, the operators of the line.
The TRC said the train was heading to Dodoma (central Tanzania) from Tabora, Mwanza and Kigoma (in the north of the country) when four of its coaches left the track and overturned Thursday night.
Reports said unidentified people had removed a section of the railway line and replaced it with a piece of rope.
“Most of us were fast asleep. I was awoken by screams at which point I saw the train swaying. It swayed for quite some time before our coach ran off the rails,” said Tobias Aaron, a police officer who was going to Morogoro (in the south of the country) from Kigoma.
He said he heard a loud bang and soon went into a coma, adding : “I don’t remember what went on after that. When I regained consciousness I found myself in a hospital bed.”
TRC marketing officer Sylvan Chenga, who was one of the passengers, told journalists that 30 metres of the track had been removed for unknown reasons.
He suffered minor injuries and worked hand in hand with other TRC officials in helping the injured passengers, taking some to the hospital, he said.
The train would resume services later Friday after transferring passengers to the Dodoma-Mwanza-Kigoma train because the railway would have to undergo repairs.
Regional Police Commander Muhud Mshihiri said police investigations into the crash have started.
Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who has been on a tour of Morogoro Region, rushed to the scene to console the crash victims.
In 2002 a TRC passenger train derailed at Mpwapwa in Dodoma, killing more than 200 people.
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