Pretoria train crash: ‘Chaos‚ screams‚ blood and panic’
Sipho Mabena | 2017-02-21 07:43:10.0
Medical services attend to injured passengers at the Lynn Ross Train station on Monday night. File photo
Image by: Phill Magakoe
A commuter on the ill-fated Metrorail train 9457 from Pretoria to Ga-rankuwa described chaos‚ agonised screams‚ blood and panic as it collided head-on with train 9478 from Dewildt to Pretoria station on Monday evening.
Thabo Matseke was seated in the coach number six when the accident happened. He told how he heard a loud crashing sound on impact as commuters flew off their seats and collided with one another amid screams and bleeding. He said some commuters jumped through train windows to escape.
“The train was slowing down as normal as it approached the platform but then suddenly there was a screeching sound of brakes and then a big crashing sound on impact as it hit the oncoming train. Panicked commuters screamed as they they were flung around the carriage. I saw a woman bleeding profusely‚” he said.
Matseke‚ who works at Mercedes Benz in Pretoria West‚ said he hurt a shoulder as he slammed into a door rail. He had called a senior Public Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) manager living in the area.
He said that 15 minutes after the call‚ ambulances began to arrive. Four people in his coach appeared to have been seriously injured.
Matseke said he had used the service‚ on the same line‚ for the past 15 years and had never before been in an rail accident.
“I was really scared. I have been in an accident before but not in a train. I did not receive any medical attention as there were people who really needed it. I will seek medical care because I might have problems later on‚” he said.
Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said though the exact cause of the accident was under investigation‚ “the two trains were seen travelling on same track”.
She said that at around 6.05pm on Monday‚ Metrorail train 9478 travelling from Dewildt to Pretoria collided head-on with train 9457 at Lynross station‚ between Rosslyn and Medunsa stations‚ leaving more than 100 injured‚ 20 in critical condition.
Mofokeng said the injured had been taken to hospitals in Pretoria.
Tshwane emergency services personnel were still on site at 10pm‚ with Prasa officials combing the scene for evidence. Scores of passengers were stranded for hours‚ with buses still ferrying people home at 9.30pm.
Mofokeng said a Metrorail technical team was working hard to restore services on the line but was unable to say whether it would be in action on Tuesday.
Pretoria is no stranger to train collisions. In January 2013‚ six people were seriously injured when a train rammed into the rear of another on the Cor Delfos and Saulsville line‚ west of the city.