Foreigner loses eye on Cape Town train
Leighton Koopman and Yaël Malgas, Die Burger
Cape Town - A Dutch man lost an eye after he was hit by a rock on a Metrorail train and was then referred from one hospital to another.
The accident happened at about 18:20 last Wednesday on train number 3217 from Cape Town to Strand.
Jorrit de Vries was hit in the eye by a rock that was allegedly thrown from another train between the Koeberg Road station and Maitland station.
According to his girlfriend, Loraine van der Merwe, he was only operated on at Tygerberg hospital on Saturday after being placed on a waiting list. He had been to two other hospitals.
“Doctors on Monday gave him the news that they would have to remove his eye,” she said.
Roger de Coito witnessed the incident and helped De Vries. He said a rock was thrown from another train and De Vries was hit in the face.
“When we stopped at the Maitland station, the security guard on the train asked De Vries to get off. Security guards would then supposedly take him to hospital but no one helped us at the station.”
An ambulance picked De Vries up at 19:30 and took him to the Vincent Pallotti hospital. There he was apparently shown the door because they didn’t have R2 500 for hospital admission on them. He was then sent to the Hottentots Holland hospital where he was given stitches.
He was then transferred to Tygerberg hospital, where he underwent an operation on Saturday.
Metrorail regional manager in the Western Cape, Mthuthuzeli Swartz, expressed his concern about the incident. “The incident is being investigated by senior management members to establish what really happened.
“I am worried about the way in which De Vries was allegedly helped. Metrorail does not approve of this behaviour by staff.”
More than 15 commuters have been injured this year in accidents on trains and 10 have died. In the latest incident, an unknown woman fell in front of a train in Mitchells Plain on Friday.
Metrorail senior manager Eddie Chinnappen warned commuters to be careful near railways. He said Metrorail regularly held safety campaigns to help prevent such incidents.
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