70 injured as passenger train rear-ends another at Berea Station

2014-07-09 00:00

OVER 70 rail commuters were injured when two fully-laden passenger trains collided at the Berea Station in Durban’s Warwick Triangle last night.

It is understood that a train with several passenger cars had slowed to approach the platform, when another slammed into it.

Both trains had been bound for the city centre.

Injured passengers prised open doors of the coaches and spilled onto the railway lines as emergency service personnel from across the city rushed to the scene.

Metrorail officials and police swarmed the crash site as the injured lay strewn between the active lines.

Ambulances and fire engines lined the street as paramedics trekked bags full of equipment to get to the injured.

Passenger Themba Ndlovu said that people were flung from their seats on impact.

“Everyone was falling everywhere and they were screaming. We were just about to reach the platform and then there was this bang from nowhere. I was standing and then I was thrown on the floor and everyone was on top of me,” he said.

He said that he saw one woman who was bleeding profusely from a head-wound.

“Her head hit the pole and then there was lots of blood and she was crying,” Ndlovu added, huddled in the back of an ambulance.

Patience Mkhize, who had been travelling home from work, said chaos erupted.

“When the trains hit, people were shouting and trying to run away; we were thinking that the train was going to catch fire,” she said.

Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said paramedics had called in ambulances from across Durban.

“We received word of the mass casualty incident shortly after 6 pm and immediately dispatched ambulances to the scene. When we arrived we found all of the wounded lying near where the trains had collided, with others scattered near the platform at the front of the train,” he said.

Jamieson added that paramedics were forced to shuttle the injured to hospitals across the city.

“The passengers were treated and stabilised at the scene before they were rushed by ambulance to the closest hospitals.”

KZN Metro Rail Zama Nomnganga said initial reports showed that one passenger train rear-ended another.

“We will need to know whether it was driver error, a signal problem or infrastructure failure. We still need more information. At the time of the accident our primary concern was making sure all the passengers received medical attention. Fortunately there were no serious injuries. Both trains appeared to be moving in the same direction at the time of the accident,” said Nomganga.

Durban Metro Police spokesperson Superintendent Sbonelo Mchunu said because it was at an underground station, it did not affect traffic.

“The accident scene was spread over 500 metres. Several emergency services were present including the city fire department and rail emergency care officials,” said Mchunu.

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