A commuter train crashed into a stationary locomotive, stopped on the tracks at Kalafong station in Pretoria, South Africa, on January 31.The rear-end collision occurred during rush hours, at approximately 7 a.m., between Cor Delfos and Saulsville, IOL News reports. Trains 9017 and the 9009's locomotive, parked on the tracks, have been involved in the incident.
“There are two trains that have collided this morning. [...] It is not a head-on collision,” spokeswoman for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa Lillian Mofokeng told reporters.
Transport Minister Ben Martins clarifies that a lot of passengers would have lost their lives, had the impact been frontal.
7th Space quotes a press release by the Railway Safety Regulator, reporting that the train driver got trapped in the carriage after the collision.
“The driver of train number 9017 is trapped in the motor coach, emergency personnel are at the scene,” their statement reads. Upon being rescued, he was flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital, in serious condition.
Mail Guardian notes that 150 people have been injured in the accident, 2 of which in critical condition. 50 wounded passengers are children, and all have been sent to the nearby Kalafong hospital for check-ups.
“Many are walking wounded and already left. There are 20 people in serious condition and one, the driver of the second train, is in a critical condition,” emergency services spokesperson Johan Pieterse explains.
“At this stage, we do not have any loss of life,” Mofokeng stresses, according to Press TV.
Citing a report by South Africa Magazine, rescue efforts are ongoing and travelers have been notified that operations “are going to take quite a while.”
Passenger Rail Association of South Africa C.E.O. Mosenngwa Mofi blames the incident on cable theft, which prompted manual handling of train signaling, mentioning human error as a factor in the crash.