Witness tells of train crash horror

2010-08-26 16:20

kalahari.com

  • Cape Town
    The story told in these pages is both immensely readable and endlessly interesting, and is sure to... Now R399.00
    buy now
Cape Town – Watching a minibus taxi start to drive over the Buttskop level crossing from just behind the boom, a Cape Town woman thought the driver surely wanted to commit suicide - and was by himself.

"I really thought he was committing suicide. I thought he was all alone in the taxi. I mean the train was so close," the woman who wanted to remain unnamed, told News24.

The mother of one, who is still recovering from shock, was on her way to work with her fiancé on Wednesday morning when they stopped at the level crossing, not far from their house, as warning lights flashed red.

"The boom was not down at the time," she said. "I was first in the queue but I stopped."

She described how the taxi came from behind and overtook all the stationary cars on the left like taxis at that particular crossing "always do".

"I told my fiancé, 'I really hope he doesn't go over'," she said.

But he did.

Threats

"First I heard the siren then, boom!

"The taxi threw every child out of the taxi."

The woman said although she had spoken to her fiancé, whom she usually drives with, many times about the reckless driving of taxi drivers at that spot, she had never imagined she would witness this.

"Every morning I say, 'Something's gonna happen here'. The taxi drivers are irresponsible, they never want to wait."

She said on the occasions that she takes a taxi and complains about drivers swerving past the booms, she has been threatened by drivers who tell her to never get on their taxis.

After she got out of her car, she found only the man she assumed was the injured driver and no one else in the taxi, the woman said. She called 10111.

"I walked around the taxi to see if it was only him. When I got around the taxi I saw the children lying on top of each other in a heap. It was horrible."

Blood

When a policeman who had arrived on the scene told her to help keep a girl who was still moving from getting up, the woman was unaware that it was Eerster Rivier rape survivor Liezel August, who was raped and set on fire in 2007. She was subsequently christened "Little Rock" for her resilience.

"I didn't know it was her. I recognised her in the paper this (Thursday) morning.

"I held her hand and told her, 'Don't move. Help is coming'," she said.

"When I looked to my right I saw a boy. There was so much blood coming out of his mouth."

The Cape Town resident said she thought of her own 10-year-old son who also uses public transport everyday on his way to school.

"That's why I was crying so much," she told News24. "Everyone was crying."

She said she is still so traumatised by the incident that she closes her ears when she hears the train.

"My house is so close to the station. When it comes by I have to close my ears because when I hear the siren, it's as if I'm going to hear that boom gain."

Survivors stable

On Thursday police said 11-year-old August, Nadine Martinissen, aged 13, Michaela de Koker, aged 11, Jody Phillips, aged 13, Cody Erasmus, aged 15, Jason Pedro, aged 14, Reece Smith, aged 7, Nolan February, aged 13, and 13-year-old Jean Pierre Willeman were the nine children who died in the accident.

Of the five children who were hospitalised, the Western Cape health department said earlier on Thursday that one has been discharged from Tygerberg Hospital, a second who had been at the same hospital was transferred to Kuils River and was expected to be discharged as well.

Two boys - aged 15 and 9 - had undergone surgery at Tygerberg Hospital and were in a stable condition, the department said. Although the 9-year-old boy taken to Red Cross Hospital on Wednesday morning was in ICU, he was in a stable condition.

The driver of the taxi was reportedly a private hospital in Kuils River in a serious but stable condition.

Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.


- Were you there? Anything to share?
- News24
Read more on:    cape town  |  schoolbus tragedy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where the more positive and optimistic you are the more opportunities you seem to attract....read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.