The CEO for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), Mosenngwa Mofi, has confirmed that a Metrorail guard was killed and a female train driver was airlifted to hospital, while 240 people were injured in this morning’s Metrorail train crash at the Denver train station in Johannesburg.
The incident occurred when a Metro Plus train and a Business Express train collided at the Denver train station. One of the trains rear-ended the other locomotive parked at the station just after 7am. Both trains were en route from Pretoria to Johannesburg.
The guard, a safety officer in her 30s, whose job was to signal the trains, was behind the stationary Metro Plus train carrying 700 people when she was hit by the Business Express Metrorail by the Business Express train with about 200 people on board.
At least two of the cars from the Metro Plus train were derailed. One landed on the platform, its entire front crushed, while the other went into a building crushing some of the passengers.
ER24’s Russell Meiring said,“ER24 paramedics, as well as other services, arrived on the scene and found the two wrecked trains over the entire train yard. On inspection, paramedics found a multitude of injured patients lying all around the scene. One woman had remained trapped inside the train between a wall and required advanced life support.”
However, most of the injured passenger have been discharged from hospital.
Prasa Group Chief Executive Officer, Lucky Montana said the company would pay for the funeral of the guard and medical costs for people who were in the train. He went on to say that R25 million had been put aside for people who sustained minor injuries. Montana has stated that a minimum of R7 500 to a maximum of R15 000 would be paid to passengers with minor injuries, however, a budget for the seriously injured is yet to be confirmed.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters visited the scene of the accident today. In a statement Minister Peters said, “Rail safety remains a top priority and everything will be done to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted into this morning’s deadly crash” she went on to say, “This accident should not be something that says to people: don’t use trains. Prasa has a good track record in terms of Metrorail technical operations and it has never had this type of magnitude of crash, for us it is a shock to our own system.”
Gauteng Metrorail spokeswoman, Lillian Mofokeng said it was unclear what the cause of the accident was, but that it would be investigated.