Death toll in Cameroon train crash rises to 79

Passenger escape the site of a train derailment in Eseka, Cameroon on Oct 21, 2016.
Passenger escape the site of a train derailment in Eseka, Cameroon on Oct 21, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

YAOUNDE (AFP) - The death toll in last week's train crash in Cameroon has climbed to 79 after rescuers finished combing through the wreckage, authorities said on Monday (Oct 24).

On Sunday, 11 more bodies were pulled from the debris of the packed passenger train that derailed on Friday between Cameroon's two main cities, CRTV state radio reported.

More than 500 people were injured, the radio added, when the train travelling from the capital Yaounde to the economic hub of Douala, came off the rails near the central city of Eseka.

The train was crammed with people because a collapsed bridge made travelling the same route by road impossible. Extra carriages had been added to accommodate the additional passengers.

"Searches at the site of the accident wound up on Sunday," a Camrail railway official who asked not to be identified told AFP.

On Saturday, a Camrail official said the toll had hit at least 60.

Cameroon was observing a day of national mourning on Monday, with flags flying at half mast and church services planned across the country.

President Paul Biya, who returned home on Sunday after a month out of the country, said he had called for an inquiry into the accident.