Two die in Buffalo City train and truck collision
A train operator and his assistant were killed when a passenger train collided with a tipper truck in Berlin on Friday, 5 April 2019. The driver of the truck was rushed to hospital but authorities could not say whether he had minor or serious injuries. The two train operators could not be named as their next of kin had not been notified of their deaths. The train travelled about 50 metres after impact before coming to a standstill in front of the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) Berlin dumpsite just after midday. About 100 passengers were on board at the time but no one was injured, officials at the scene said.
While an investigation into what caused the accident is ongoing, authorities believe the inclement weather conditions could have played a part. There was mist, which meant there was poor visibility. The accident happened when the tipper truck allegedly failed to stop at a railway crossing at the entrance of the dumpsite, colliding with the train. The train was coming from the Berlin direction going towards Mdantsane.
The truck driver was taken to hospital while emergency officials attempted to extricate the bodies of the train operators.
There were initial suggestions that the truck belonged to BCM but metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said, “I have confirmed that it was not one of our trucks. The only thing that links us is that it was working on our site but we are not sure whether it belonged to a private company or an individual.”
Officials from the municipality’s disaster management team, SA Police Services, traffic and Prasa officials were busy inspecting and securing the scene. Police spokesperson Captain Mluleki Mbi said they were investigating a case of culpable homicide. “It is alleged that the train was travelling from Berlin to East London. A truck that was from [the] dumping site crossed the railway line without stopping and two train drivers, [were] certified dead on the scene. “The truck driver was taken to hospital by ambulance,” he said.
Provincial health spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha confirmed the department’s emergency services promptly arrived at the accident and transported the truck driver to a local hospital.
Eyewitnesses, who were a few metres from the point of impact when the accident occurred, said they ran for their lives when they saw that it was inevitable that the train would collide with the truck. “There was fog at the time of the accident and a bit of rain and we were keeping warm by burning some wood here by the road,” one said.
Spokesperson for the Railway Safety Regulator of South Africa, Madelein Williams, said they had sent inspectors to the scene to probe what could have been the cause of the accident. “The inspectors, once done with their probe, will compile a report of whatever they found on the scene,” she said.
Source: Daily Dispatch