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Wednesday April 9, 2008

Sabah train plungest 10m into river

MYT 7:28:21 PM

KOTA KINABALU: A locomotive train with 41 passengers plunged into the Padas River in the interior of Sabah killing two people and injuring two others.

The others "miraculously" escaped the 10m plunge into the fast flowing Padas River when the locomotive lost its grip in a landslip at 3.15pm Wednesday.

The train was on its 49km ride from Tenom to Beaufort and most of its passengers were local villagers. Officials have yet to ascertain the total number of passengers on the train.

However, Tenom OCPD Deputy Supt Mazlan Lajim told The Star at 6.45pm that two people - a man and a woman - are confirmed dead with two others injured and admitted to hospital for treatment.

"There was no one else inside the carriage and we believe all the passengers are accounted for," he said, adding that as of Wednesday there were no reports of anyone missing in the mishap.

Sabah Railways has been plying this route for villagers as a social service for five remote kampungs between Tenom and Beaufort.

Earlier fears of tourists being onboard the train were abated as Railway officials explained that tourists going for white-water rafting to the Padas River were usually put on a railcar and not local-run locomotives.

Since last year, the North Borneo Railway service that plied between Tanjung Aru and Papar was suspended as the state undertook a major refurbishment of the railway tracks and services.

By 7.15pm Wednesday, railway officials confirmed that all who were trapped in the carriages stuck in the bank of the Padas River had been rescued.

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