South Africa 30.4.2015 12:00 am

Denver train crash survivor speaks out

Paramedics attend to people that were injured in a train crash at Denver station in Johannesburg, 28 April 2015. Picture: Neil McCartney

Paramedics attend to people that were injured in a train crash at Denver station in Johannesburg, 28 April 2015. Picture: Neil McCartney

Danie Steffens was a passenger on a stationary Metro Plus Express train when another plowed into them from behind at the Denver Station on Tuesday morning.

The man from Birchleigh, Kempton Park claimed he heard a loud noise and found himself on the floor of the train with other commuters. He then got up and realised an accident had just occurred, Kempton Express reported.

A Metrorail guard died in the accident, while about 240 people were injured, with the driver of the Business Express critically so.

Steffens was reading his newspaper in the front of the train, on his way to work. He said he used the Metro Plus Express on a daily basis to commute between Birchleigh Station and Johannesburg.

“When I got outside, I saw the Metro train had been ripped open at the carriages, were torn from the chassis. There were lots of injured people bleeding,” he said.

The Business Express derailed and landed on a nearby platform.

Although disorientated, he rushed to the back of the train to help where he could. Buses were then brought to the site to transport passengers who were not injured to Park Station.

“I will definitely use the train again. The chances to get into an accident on the road are much higher,” Steffens added.

Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) on Wednesday said preliminary investigations showed the crash was caused by the Business Express train skipping a red light and hitting the stationary Metro Plus train.

Prasa Rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said: “The Metro Plus train stopped at the station at around 6.55am because [the driver] wasn’t sure if the signal allowed him to proceed. He was communicating with the train office and had stopped for about two minutes.”

However, the driver of the Business Express jumped the red light and slammed into the Metro Plus train, Mofi said.

He confirmed there was no signal failure where the crash occurred.

Prasa Group CEO Lucky Montana said a R25-million purse had been established for people who suffered injuries.

– Caxton News Service

 

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