Train collision injures more than 300 in South Africa

Paramedics treated passengers with minor to serious injuries all around the commuter train wreck


By Lynsey Chutel
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG — A commuter train crashed into another passenger train during rush hour Friday in South Africa's largest city injuring more than 300 people, an emergency services spokeswoman said.

Nana Radebe, spokeswoman for Johannesburg Emergency Services, said 326 people were rushed to nearby hospitals with minor to serious injuries. No fatalities were reported.

Emergency workers gather at the scene of a train collision at the Booysens train station near Johannesburg Friday July 17, 2015. A commuter train crashed into another passenger train during rush hour Friday in South Africa's largest city injuring more than 300 people, an emergency services spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Jacques Nelles)
Emergency workers gather at the scene of a train collision at the Booysens train station near Johannesburg Friday July 17, 2015. A commuter train crashed into another passenger train during rush hour Friday in South Africa's largest city injuring more than 300 people, an emergency services spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Jacques Nelles)

"For now we have removed people with minor to serious injuries, but none critical," she said, adding that firefighters searched for commuters who may have been trapped inside the train cars.

The trains were on the same track, Radebe told The Associated Press, and it appeared that a traveling train collided with a stationary train.

"What we do know is that one vehicle rear ended the other," said Russel Meiring, a spokesman for ER24, a private emergency service.

Meiring said his crew counted more than 200 injured on the scene. Injured passengers were treated "absolutely everywhere" where paramedics could find space around the wreckage before being taken to hospital, Meiring said.

"The one train had stopped because of a signal when another came from behind us hooting and smashed into its back," one commuter told the African News Agency.

The accident happened at rush hour between two stations, with both trains traveling from the Johannesburg city center to the township of Soweto, said Lillian Mofokeng, the Metrorail spokeswoman for the Gauteng province.

The cause of the accident was unknown and authorities were still gathering information about the collision, Mofokeng said.

"Our priority right now is just to attend to the injured and then arrange alternative transport," she said. About 100 passengers who were not injured would be bussed home, said Mofokeng.

In April, two passenger trains collided south of Johannesburg, killing the conductor of one of the trains and injuring 241 people.

Associated Press
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