At least 12 people have been killed and scores injured in a train crash in South Africa’s Free State province. The cause of the accident is yet unknown but the number of casualties is expected to rise.
Rescue workers reported that at least 12 people had been killed in a train crash between the South African towns of Hennenman and Kroonstad on Thursday. The accident was reported to have taken place around 9:15am local time (07:15 UTC). According to reports on state broadcaster SABC, one of the deceased was a baby.
The ER24 emergency medical response service said on Twitter that approximately 100 people were being treated for injuries.
Return journey from Chrismas holidays
ER24’s Russel Meiring told the daily Sowetan newspaper that a truck and a car were involved in the incident, causing parts of the train to derail and tip over. The Afrikaans-language Son newspaper reported that part of the train then burst into flames.
Eye witnesses meanwhile told the eNCA news channel that the driver of the truck was seen attempting to flee the scene but was apprehended by police. An investigation has been launched.
Busy travel period
The Shosholoza Meyl train operates between the country’s major cities, and was in this case heading from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg – a journey, which usually takes around 20 hours.
The beginning of January each year is usually a busy travel season across the country, as many people return to work in the the country’s major cities after month-long Christmas holidays in their rural home towns.