Ramaphosa sends condolences to Pretoria train crash victims

The scene of a train crash at the Mountain View train station in Pretoria, 8 January 2018. At least 3 people were confirmed dead and hundreds injured when two trains going the same direction collided. Picture: Neil McCartney

Fifty ambulances were at the scene and three helicopters assisted with getting critically injured patients to hospitals.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent condolences to the victims of the train accident which occurred this morning in Pretoria at the Mountain View station. The collision left hundreds injured and at least three dead.

“I have learned with sadness of the train accident, with three fatalities at this point and over 600 being attended to at various hospitals, mostly with light injuries. Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their families. To the injured I would like to wish you all a speedy recovery,” said Ramaphosa.

“I would like to also encourage the emergency services team on the scene to do all in their powers to help those who are still trapped under the train.”

Ramaphosa said he welcomed the efforts by Gauteng Metrorail to institute a board of enquiry to determine the cause of the accident.

Earlier, acting provincial police commissioner of Gauteng Major General Max Masha, said they were going to open an inquest docket to investigate the cause of the collision.

“If it’s found that there’s been negligence, a charge culpable homicide might be opened,” he said.

The trains were carrying more than 800 passengers at the time of the accident. The circumstances leading up to the collision were still unclear.

There are also conflicting reports about the number of deaths, with Masha stating four people had died, while Gauteng Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said the death toll stood at three.

Mofokeng confirmed that over 300 commuters were injured, with 82 suffering moderate injuries and 159 light injuries.

At around lunchtime she confirmed that there were two or three people still trapped inside the trains.

“For now we don’t have the full details of what caused the accident,” Mofokeng said.

Both trains were from Mabopane station and heading towards Pretoria station.

“Unfortunately one was stationery on the platform when the other one hit it at the back,” said Mofokeng.

Fifty ambulances were at the scene and three helicopters assisted with getting critically injured patients to hospitals.

Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga said he has always raised concerns about the infrastructure of railway lines and their outdated resources.

“I don’t want to speculate about what happened this morning because they are still investigating. But I think there’s a need now to immediately have a meeting with Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa). We cannot lose any more lives, there needs to be some kind of upgrade in terms of signaling that is in here.”

Msimanga said the he plans to meet with the families of the deceased.

African News Agency (ANA)

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