Congo train death toll down to 54

2010-06-26 19:50

Brazzaville - A total of 54 people died in a train crash in Congo last week and not 76 as originally reported, the crisis committee set up in the wake of the derailment told AFP on Saturday.

"The number of bodies recorded after the train accident is 54, of which 11 are as yet unidentified," a committee official said, asking not to be named.

"All the bodies are at the municipal morgue in Pointe-Noire which is open to all.

"The initial figure supplied, the 76 dead, was given in haste, even emotion. You must not think that the authorities are hiding something. In any case, we've only recorded 54 bodies," the official said, declining to elaborate.

The revised toll came as Congo began three days of mourning which is to end Monday with a state funeral for the crash victims in Pointe-Noire, Congo's economic capital, from where the train had departed for Brazzaville.

State-run Congo Ocean Railway (CFCO) has blamed driver error while the government has said the train was travelling too fast when it overturned on a bend about 60km from Point-Noire on June 21.