Train crash: Body parts strewn over 200m

2012-07-13 12:03
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Johannesburg - Emergency personnel are having a difficult time counting the number of dead at an Mpumalanga level crossing accident because body parts were ripped apart and strewn over 200m, police said on Friday.

The accident happened when a coal train ploughed into a truck carrying farmworkers at a level crossing near Hectorspruit.

At least 19 people were killed. A spokesperson for Mpumalanga’s community safety department told AFP it appears that more than 30 people were killed.

"It is a very gruesome scene. Some bodies are without heads and some without limbs. Forensic teams are still working on the scene," police spokesperson Joseph Mabusa said.

The truck was carried 200 metres by the impact, leaving body parts in its wake and making it hard for forensic experts to say how many people were killed, he added.

"The driver was taken to hospital. His condition is unknown. It's difficult to say what happened but at this stage it seems that the truck miscalculated as it was crossing the railway line."

Emergency services said at least 24 other people were injured, some of them critically.

State rail operator Transnet said the train was carrying coal for export to Mozambique, but there was no derailment. The coal was destined for the Indian Ocean port of Maputo.

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