Train crash death toll rises
Free State health department spokesman Mondli Mvambi confirmed that at least 20 bodies had been recovered.
“This number will increase because the passengers in three carriages have burnt beyond recognition. The search and rescue operation in these carriages is still ongoing‚” he said.
There have been conflicting reports about the death toll from the scene‚ with some putting the confirmed number so far at around 12.
The Shosholoza Meyl train derailed and caught alight after colliding with a car and a truck at the Jeneva Level Crossing between Henneman and Kroonstad in the Free State at about 9am on Thursday.
“The untimely crossing of a truck at the level crossing has resulted in the derailment of seven coaches‚” Shosholoza Meyl spokeswoman Daisy Daniels said.
“One of them is a power car which helps generate power in the train. The power car caught fire which crossed over to the next coach.”
Daniels said there were 429 passengers on board. She said more than 180 of them were injured.
“There’s an ongoing search for other passengers who might be trapped in the derailed coaches.”