Pregnant woman dies in train crash

2009-12-07 23:25

  • Accidents
    A resource for all Health and Safety professionals, particularly those who have responsibility for... Now R521.00
    buy now

Johannesburg - A pregnant woman died and more than 100 people, including a three-month-old baby, were injured when two Shosholoza Meyl trains collided head-on between Potchefstroom and Carletonville on Monday.

"The train shook terribly and then we just saw dust outside," said Janet Fouché, 57, from Orange Grove in Johannesburg.

She had been on her way to Cape Town for a holiday with her mother, Doreen Barendse, 81, and three grandchildren.

"Our carriage was just before the dining room carriage. There was broken glass and cutlery everywhere," said Fouché on Monday, shortly after the accident.

Driver didn't stop

One train, the Trans-Karoo, had been on its way to Cape Town from Johannesburg, and the other, the Tourist first-class, was heading in the opposite direction.

The driver of the second train had apparently neglected to stop at the crossing where the accident occurred, about 20km outside Potchefstroom, said Viwe Mlenzana, chief executive of Shosholoza Meyl, at the scene.

"It was human error. The driver went through the crossing without authorisation," said Mlenzana.

Both trains were apparently supposed to stop in order for one train to pass the other. The one coming from Johannesburg was already standing still, waiting.

Minor injuries

The train driver who had apparently been negligent is one of the 107 people who required hospital treatment, said Lesego Metsi, North West police spokesperson.

According to Metsi, except for four people, everyone was able to get out of the train by themselves and walk towards the ambulances.

The police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

Thirteen passengers were taken to the Leslie Williams hospital in Carletonville, while most of the others went to Potchefstroom.

A doctor at the scene said some of the injured people were taken as far as the Tshepong hospital outside Klerksdorp.

According to Mlenzana, the 24-year-old pregnant woman, whose identity is not yet known, sustained no visible injuries. She had been in the train going to Johannesburg.

One of this train's passenger carriages stood at an angle on the tracks, but no carriages had derailed completely.

Mlenzana was unable to say exactly how many passengers had been on the trains but in a statement earlier on Monday, Shosholoza Meyl said there were 494 passengers on board the one train and 159 in the other.

'Violent impact'

Those who were unhurt or sustained light injuries spent hours waiting in the sun with their baggage for buses to pick them up to take them to Johannesburg.

Some of Swellendam resident Piet Ntsabelle's teeth were knocked loose, while his wife, Lydia, bit her tongue.

They'd been on their way home after visiting their children in Johannesburg.

Jonathan Abrahams of Johannesburg said there was a "violent impact" where he was sitting, in the carriage immediately behind the locomotive. He had been in the moving train. Family members came to fetch him at the scene.

Mlenzana said they would do everything they could to help the stranded passengers on Monday evening. The accident will delay trains between Johannesburg and Cape Town for the next few days.

According to Sapa, the accident is estimated to have caused damage of R30m.

Earlier reports said that one of the trains was the luxury Premier Classe but this was later denied.

Read more on:    shosholoza meyl  |  accidents

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.