South Africa train crash: Fourteen dead in truck collision

Media captionThe truck apparently failed to stop at a crossing

A passenger train has caught fire in South Africa after colliding with a truck, killing at least 14 people and injuring 268, officials have said.

Video footage showed a fire blazing through at least one carriage, near a crushed car and an overturned truck.

Evacuated passengers were seen standing on the roadside with luggage.

The collision occurred near Kroonstad city in Free State province, after the truck failed to stop at a crossing, a passenger told local media.

About 850 passengers had been safely evacuated from the train, police were quoted as saying.

The driver of the truck tried to flee, but was arrested by police, passenger Seipati Moletsane told the privately owned eCNA news site.

Passengers in the first two coaches were wounded, she added.

“I was so traumatised. I didn’t know what to do. I was looking for a door just to jump out. Every door was locked… All of a sudden, we just saw smoke, smoke, smoke,” Ms Moletsane said.

A tweeter posted a video of the fire.

The emergency services rushed to the scene and battled the blaze on the train, which had been travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg.

Officials fear the number of dead could rise, reports the BBC’s Lebo Diseko from Johannesburg.

Passenger Tiaan Esterhuizen told South Africa’s TimesLive news site that he and his family managed to get off the train, and he then tried to help three women trapped in the mangled wreckage.

“Two of the women were sort of on top of each other. Another was further back. Her legs were trapped. One of the women was shouting that there was a baby inside also. We searched but could not find the child,” Mr Esterhuizen was quoted as saying.

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Image caption

Some passengers managed to escape

The flames became intense, forcing him and others to retreat, he said.

“We used some fire extinguishers the police had‚ but it didn’t work. I am quite sure those women burned to death‚” Mr Esterhuizen was quoted as saying.

The train was travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg, when the crash occurred.

South Africa train crash: Fourteen dead in truck collision

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