A train driver has died and another was in critical condition in hospital after freak accident involving a diesel locomotive in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, on Thursday, the United National Transport Union (Untu) said on Friday.
The deceased was identified as Untu member Alexander Flemming.
“Mr. Flemming and two other Untu members, Mr. Jan Swanepoel, train driver, and Mr. Neo Jason Witkoei, train assistant, were in a train on their way from Rosmead to Beaconsfield in Kimberley, waiting at a signal for the train controller to tell them when they can continue,” said Untu in a statement.
“Untu was informed that our members waited for about five minutes for the train control to revert back to them when they saw the diesel locomotive coming right at them from the Noupoort direction very fast. Mr. Witkoei jumped off the train. The diesel locomotive exploded when it collided with their locomotive and burst into flames.”
Flemming died on the scene, while Swanepoel was found lying next to the train. According to Untu, Witkoei managed to drag Swanepoel away from the burning wreck with the help of bystanders.
He was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
“It is every train driver’s biggest nightmare to be confronted with a runaway locomotive. This is a freak accident, and it does not happen often,” said Steve Harris, Untu general secretary.
“Transnet will now conduct an investigation and a board of inquiry will establish what happened and if anyone can be held accountable.”
– African News Agency (ANA)