A Kenya Railways passenger train packed with more than 600 people, including many tourists, was on its way from Nairobi to Mombasa, when it suddenly derailed at 4 a.m. on 24 March 1999. 16 of the trainís 22 carriages were left upside down and scattered around the scene. At least 32 people were killed and more than 200 were injured.
The survivors were stranded for hours at a place called "Man-Eaters Junction" in the heart of one of Africa's largest game preserves. The only available telephone was out of order. Early in the morning Chinese rail workers stumbled on the scene and called for help.
Passengers were trapped inside the train because the doors were locked. It is normal procedure to lock the doors in this area to prevent robbers from jumping aboard. Thus, uninjured passengers had to break the windows in order to drag out survivors.
The train's crew blamed the crash on brake failure. But a Kenya Railways official reportedly blamed the crash on "over-speeding and a serious lapse of judgement on the part of the drivers." Survivors reported that the train appeared to accelerate immediately prior to the crash.
An investigation conducted by the Kenyan government stated that the train had accelerated to 93 kph in a curve where it was allowed to drive 50 kph. The engine and the rails were correctly maintained and could therefore not be blamed.
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