- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — At least 60 people have died in a train accident in the southern part of Republic of Congo, a train official said Tuesday.

Four train cars full of passengers fell into a ravine in the Central African nation late Monday, said Jean Miche Ibinda, spokesman for the rail company of the train that derailed. State radio reported that more than 300 others were hurt.

Mr. Ibinda said the train was leaving the coastal town of Pointe-Noire and headed to the capital, Brazzaville, when it derailed. Army and Red Cross officials rushed to the scene of the accident to help victims of the train, known as “Ocean,” he said.

“We have a provisional toll, but it is likely to get higher because of the high number of gravely wounded, which ambulances are busy ferrying to hospitals in Pointe-Noire,” Mr. Ibinda said.

The CFCO rail line that runs for about 300 miles through the country has had difficulties in recent years with its old trains and lines. Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso said the government will hold a meeting about the crash.

Republic of Congo often is overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo.