Railway Safety Regulator investigators still at train accident scene

The death toll in Thursday morning’s fiery Free State train crash has risen to at least 18‚ with emergency officials still searching the wreckage for more bodies.
Shosholoza Meyl The death toll in Thursday morning’s fiery Free State train crash has risen to at least 18‚ with emergency officials still searching the wreckage for more bodies.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Investigators from the Railway Safety Regulator were back on the scene of the train accident near Kroonstad on Friday.

The accident occurred on Thursday when a Shosholoza Meyl train en route from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg crashed into a truck that had failed to stop at a level crossing.

Nine carriages were derailed and over 200 passengers were injured and 18 people were killed.

The regulator is responsible for investigating railway accidents and making recommendations to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence.

Regulator spokeswoman Madelein Williams said its investigators were dispatched to the scene on Thursday morning immediately after receiving news of the accident.

Williams said investigators were still undertaking a preliminary investigation‚ and gathering all the facts about the accident.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi‚ who visited the scene on Thursday afternoon‚ said the truck driver was at fault.

“He was taking chances‚” Maswanganyi said.

Mthuthuzeli Swartz‚ Acting CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa‚ said on Thursday that buses were arranged for the remaining passengers to be transported to their destination on Thursday afternoon.

He said clean-up operations would resume on Friday.

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