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Historic Railway Disasters
14 Feb 98

Train Explosion Kills 120 in Cameroon

A rail accident in Yaounde, the capital of the central African state Cameroon has left 120 dead and 150 seriously injured.

The accident occurred on Saturday February 14, 1998. A train of oil tankers burst into flames after being derailed when it was in collision with a train, also pulling oil tanker wagons, travelling in the opposite direction.

As petroleum began to spill from ruptured tankers a crowd of bystanders began to collect it in buckets. Petrol commands a premium in the country and it is common for the fuel to be sold from the side of the road, often in open containers.

It is thought that a lighted cigarette may have started the fire. People were collecting fuel, many with their clothing saturated in petrol as the fire took hold. The majority of the 150 injured suffered severe burns.



Report from the BBC


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