Horror at railway

2016-07-27 06:00
TRAGEDY WAITING TO HAPPEN: Scores of people cross the train tracks at the Bloemfontein Station, where an unidentified woman lost her leg to a freight train on Friday (22/07). Photo: Teboho Setena

TRAGEDY WAITING TO HAPPEN: Scores of people cross the train tracks at the Bloemfontein Station, where an unidentified woman lost her leg to a freight train on Friday (22/07). Photo: Teboho Setena

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THE woman who miraculously escaped death when a freight train severed one of her legs at the Bloemfontein Station will not be compensated by Transnet. The unidentified woman had her leg severed by a moving freight train when trying to cross the tracks on Friday (22/07).

Mike Asefovitz, Transnet spokesperson, said given the investigation into the accident, the victim was not entitled to any claims against the South African rail, port and pipeline company. He stressed that the unfortunate accident was one of several involving young and old people risking their lives by crossing railways illegally and ignoring repeated strong warnings by the company against such actions.

Asefovitz said the case had been reported to the Bloemfontein police. However, Express has learnt that the case had not been reported after enquiring at two police stations in Bloemfontein.

The unidentified woman was apparently on her way to work and was to board a taxi in Power Street in Buitesig. Along with several other people, she took a short cut across train tracks to reach the taxi rank in Power Street.

Eyewitnesses said a freight train had come from the south in the second outer track when the woman had tried to cross.

“The train hit her before crossing the last set of tracks. It dragged her a few metres, crushing her leg. Her leg had already been crushed at the moment she escaped,” said a visibly shocked eyewitness.

Another shocked eyewitness recalled hearing the train making a loud sound as it came around the curve south of the Bloemfontein Station.

“As she fell on the ground in the next track, her other leg was nowhere to be seen and she was screaming out loud,” said the eyewitness.

“My friend waved his hands indicating to the train driver to stop, as something terrible had happened. I then rushed to ask people to help.”

According to the eyewitnesses, the on-duty security guards did not see the incident unfold.

“One of the two security guards on duty came rushing up, asking what had happened. At that time, scores of people were already gathering around the accident scene. My friend used the blanket the woman had around her waist to cover her severed leg,” said another eyewitness.

An ambulance fetched the victim around 08:00 and rushed her to a local hospital in Bloemfontein. The accident scene was guarded by guards wearing Isidingo Security uniforms.

Everyday, countless people are seen risking their lives by illegally crossing sets of train tracks in the vicinity, going to different destinations in Bloemfontein. A concrete fence that had been erected to prevent illegal crossing was purposely broken down a long time ago, resulting in free movement.

Asefovitz said Transnet would continue raising awareness about the danger of people crossing railways, further appealing to people to not risk their lives in this way.

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