Transport Minister visits train accident scene

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport in the Free State, Sam Mashinini, have visited the site where Shosholoza Meyl train 37012 derailed at Jeneva level crossing between Henneman and Kroonstad.

The train was travelling from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg today when the unfortunate incident occurred. At time of Minister Maswanganyi’s visit to the crash scene, 12 people were confirmed dead and 239 critically injured. The train had 429 passengers on board.

Minister Maswanganyi confirmed that preliminary investigations indicate that the derailment was caused by the truck, which untimely crossed the level crossing at around 9am. Investigations indicate that the power car caught fire, which crossed over to the next coach.

The damages caused by the derailment have affected seven coaches, one of which is a power car that helps in the generation of power in the train.

Emergency services, including fire brigades, were immediately called to the scene to conduct emergency rescue operations. Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) investigators will immediately commence with their investigations.

Minister Maswanganyi has directed the RSR and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to work closely and expedite the investigations into the circumstances that led to the derailment.

To ensure further safety and comfort of passengers, PRASA will provide alternative transport to all passengers.

Minister Maswanganyi has sent his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wished the crew and passengers admitted in hospitals a speedy recovery.

Source: South African Government News Agency