A train belonging to steel giant Arcelor Mittal derailed on Tuesday, August 2 in the LAMCO camp, Bong County, about three kilometers from the boundary with Nimba County.
According to information from the Nimba County town of Duo, the train was heading from Yekapa around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2 when residents heard the harsh sound of iron clashing against iron from about 10 kilometers from the accident scene.
They said a sharp ‘iron sound’ trailed the train’s movement, and caused panic among residents of nearby towns and villages.
“The rubbing of iron from the rail, sent huge sparks like fire and it made us think that the train was on fire,” said a security officer, who was on duty the night of the incident.
When this reporter visited the scene of the derailment, most of the bolts used to tighten the rail to the wooded bed were all broken from about 10 kilometers from where the train finally derailed.
The train, marked 94, was loaded with iron ore in about 70 wagons, heading for the port of Buchanan. It was about 165 kilometers from Buchanan.
Inspection revealed that about 16 of the center wagons derailed, leaving 30 wagons detached behind and 27 wagons attached to the locomotive itself.
The 30 wagons were later pulled back to Yekapa, while the 27 managed to reach their destination (Buchanan) on the same train.
The center 16 wagons, which derailed, were on the track, causing extensive damage to the railroad. A resident said this might take the company weeks or months to repair, and could likely hamper the company’s activities.
There was no report of casualty, besides the large amount of wasted ore at the scene of the incident.
The cause of the derailment has been blamed on mechanical failure, according to Public Relations Manager Hesta Pearson. She, however, did not reveal the cost of the damage so far.
Meanwhile, she stressed to the Daily Observer that there was never a fire as reported in some media, adding that there were no casualties or injuries during the incident.
“The rail operation will resume shortly, once the derailed wagons are removed from the rail line,” she concluded.