- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 26, 2002

MAPUTO, Mozambique A train carrying weekend visitors to South Africa slammed into a freight train parked at a station in southern Mozambique yesterday, killing 196 persons and injuring hundreds more.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash, and one official said it appeared to be human error.
"Dead bodies were lying all over," Antonio Cevere, who was traveling on the passenger train, told Radio Mozambique. Mr. Cevere was injured in the crash and said he was amazed to have survived.
Rescue workers with tractors and construction equipment were trying to free people trapped in the train's wreckage, and officials said the death toll could rise further in what was already the worst train disaster in the history of this impoverished southern African nation of 18 million people.
President Joachim Chissano declared the accident a national tragedy and called on people to donate blood for the injured and support those who had lost their families.
The crash took place at about 5 a.m. when the passenger train, which can hold more than 1,000 people, barreled into the back of the freight train at a station in the town of Moamba, about 40 miles south of the capital, Maputo.
It was not clear how fast the passenger train was going. The freight train was carrying cement.
The two trains had been attached when they left Maputo, but split up at a station outside the city. The freight train continued on to Moamba, with the passenger train following later.
The passenger train was heading to Ressano Garcia on the border with South Africa a popular weekend trip for Mozambicans going shopping in South Africa.
Health Minister Franscisco Songane said 192 persons were killed and another 400 were injured. He expected the death toll to rise. Later yesterday four more bodies were pulled from the mangled cars.
Most of the dead and injured in the crash were thought to be Mozambican.


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