Shosholoza Meyl: Death toll rises to six

According to a statement by Shosholoza Meyl Trains South Africa, there is an ongoing search of other passengers who might be trapped in the derailed coaches.

Fatalities in a crash between a truck and the Shosholoza Meyl passenger train this morning at a railway crossing between Hennenman and Kroonstad in the Free State have risen to six.
Acting CEO of the rail division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Mthura Swartz, has confirmed six fatalities and a total of 254 people who sustained injuries.
Injured passengers have been transported to various hospitals in the area, Swartz said.
The Shosholoza Meyl was en route to Johannesburg from Port Elizabeth.
Swartz said investigators from Prasa, as well as police members, were on the scene where the locomotive and four carriages derailed after a truck failed to stop at a railway crossing.
The locomotive and the carriages burst into flames due to the impact of the crash. This resulted in the reported fatalities.
According to Swartz the accident could have been avoided. He adds the investigation into the accident continues and the truck driver has been taken for tests to establish the alcohol levels in his blood. The results of these tests will be dealt with accordingly.
All necessary steps were being taken to transport passengers to their final destination. Busses transported 453 passengers to Johannesburg, he said.
OFM News’ Josca Human reported from the scene that seven people were still trapped in the train wreck earlier.
Meanwhile, Shosholoza Meyl Trains South Africa, posted a press release on Facebook, stating:
“The paramedics who are at the scene have confirmed that 181 passengers were injured and sadly five passengers were certified dead. There is an ongoing search of other passengers who might be trapped in the derailed coaches.
Shosholoza Meyl Train 37012 (PE-Jhb) got derailed at Jeneva Level Crossing between Hennenman and Kroonstad.
“The untimely crossing of a truck at the level crossing at around 09:00 today has resulted in the derailment of seven coaches. One of them is a power car, which helps to generate power on the train. The train was on its way from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and had 429 passengers on board. The power car caught fire, which crossed over to the next coach.”
Christal-lize Muller/OFM News