A 31-year old man was on Tuesday, October 16 allegedly killed by an ArcelorMittal-Liberia (AML) locomotive in an area between Bondin and Duo towns in Nimba County. The company has meanwhile confirmed the incident and expressed condolences to the bereaved family.
“On Tuesday, October 16th at about 3:45 a.m., there was a tragic accident involving a man on the tracks and an AML locomotive heading from Nimba County to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. The company immediately notified officers of the Liberia National Police, and other authorities. The victim has been identified, and buried by his family. Our hearts go out to the family of the victim, and we are fully cooperating with the police and other authorities that are conducting investigations into the cause of the accident,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The deceased, Gibson Cooper, had reportedly gone to celebrate with one of his friends whose wife gave birth in a nearby village. While returning from the ceremony, according to eyewitnesses, he was crushed by the advancing train at the rail about 4 a.m. October 16, 2018.
It is not yet clear about the condition he was in prior to the incident, but a resident of Duo Town, Wallace Gbengon in Zahn Chiefdom told Radio Saclepea, a community radio that, while returning home from the celebration, Cooper decided to take a shortcut to his village, only to be killed later by a moving locomotive.
Mr. Gbengon could not explain in detail, whether his companion was intoxicated or not, so it remains unclear how he got killed.
The train, which was alleged to have killed the Cooper, “marked AML #095, did not stop,” a source has said.
The late Cooper was laid to rest later on the same day of the incident, allegedly after his relatives reached some compromise with AML. He leaves to mourn his loss his wife and four children.
Some residents of the area informed the Daily Observer that this is the 11th reported case of such incidence, since 1976, leaving eight dead and three survivors.
Earlier this year, it was alleged that a security guard assigned with SEGAL was killed around the same location, while serving guard at one of the posts along the rail.
The guard was reportedly killed by a train, and his body reportedly spent over a year at a local funeral home in Ganta, but it was reported that the family and AML management settled the issue.
According to a company official, AML emphasizes rail safety along its 243 miles of track and reminds the public that “walking, playing or sleeping on the train track is illegal, and very dangerous.”
The company maintains it has established railroad safety clubs for children living along the tracks, and continues to engage with communities with the message to stay alert and attentive when crossing the tracks, and to avoid sitting or sleeping on the tracks.