A derailed train is seen in Eseka, Cameroon, Oct. 21, 2016.
A derailed train is seen in Eseka, Cameroon, Oct. 21, 2016.

WASHINGTON - A crowded passenger train traveling from the capital to Cameroon's economic hub, Douala, derailed and overturned Friday, killing at least 53 people.

Transportation Minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o said another 300 people were injured in the derailment.

A Reuters journalist who was a passenger on board said he heard a loud noise and then coaches in the rear part of the train "left the rails and started rolling over and over."

Yaounde and Douala, Cameroon

Witnesses told of seeing victims' bodies being pulled from the wreckage.

The morning train from the capital, Yaounde, to Douala normally has nine passenger cars. Reuters said an additional eight coaches were attached Friday to accommodate extra passengers, since part of the road between the two cities was blocked by landslides and a washed-out bridge. 

The Associated Press said the train normally carries about 600 passengers, but 1,300 were traveling Friday to Douala, on the Gulf of Guinea. The train left the tracks near the town of Eseka, about 120 kilometers from Yaounde. 

The Cameroonian rail company Camrail is operated by France's Bollore Railways.