Man killed, eight injured as gang stabs, throws commuters off train

2018-09-08 11:16
Paramedics attend to injured train commuters after gang attack (Renier van der Westhuizen)

Paramedics attend to injured train commuters after gang attack (Renier van der Westhuizen)

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A Friday night commute near Stellenbosch turned into a horror scene as a gang of five men robbed commuters and then threw them off the train, leaving one man dead, and another eight injured

Police spokesperson Lt-Col Andre Traut said a 32-year-old man was killed during the robbery on the train between Lynedoch and Eerste River.

"It is believed that commuters were attacked by a group of armed suspects on the train and robbed of personal effects," he said.

"The commuters were stabbed and thrown from the train. Eight male persons were injured during the incident. Cases of murder and attempted murder were registered and no one has been arrested as yet."

Horror scene

Veal farmer Renier van der Westhuizen and his girlfriend Izette van der Merwe had just stopped at the Zetler's garage near the station early on Friday night when a scene of horror unfolded in front of them as one of the injured men staggered towards them.

"He was full of blood," said Van der Westhuizen, who was parked at the filling station whose owner Jeffrey Zetler was murdered in June.

"He was stabbed on the head. The knife had broken off in his head," said Van der Westhuizen.

The man collapsed next to the bakkie. Van der Westhuizen said his girlfriend, who is trained in First Aid, and a friend who had been a medic in the army jumped out to help him.

The police and emergency services were also called.

Van der Westhuizen said at first it was difficult to understand what had happened as the man was speaking a language he was not familiar with.

But another man who was also at the filling station interpreted for the injured man and he told them he been robbed and thrown off a train.

"They also messed his knee up really badly," said Van der Westhuizen.

The trio helped stabilise him as he went into shock, waiting for an ambulance.

"The ambulance took an hour. A full hour," said Van der Westhuizen.

train attack
 (Renier van der Westhuizen)


He said when the police arrived it seemed that they had no First Aid training as they did not seem to know how to help the injured man.

“They didn't know what … to do. If it wasn't for us, that man would have been dead."

He said more injured people came staggering through. One had a wound on his head, another was beaten.

By this time, personnel members from AM Security Services and a man called James from TSU private security's tactical unit were also at the scene.

He paid tribute to them for helping to secure everybody to make sure they were safe until the police arrived.

He understood from further conversations that one man was stabbed and then thrown out of the train against a lamp post, and died, as the gang scooped up what little everybody had on them. He was told that as many as 11 people were thrown off the train.

"They took cellphones, the little R200 that somebody worked for that day. That breaks my heart," said Van der Westhuizen.

"I am a farmer, I know what my workers go through just to take public transport."

He said he helped because "That is how I was brought up".

Comment was not immediately available from Metrorail.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  stellenbosch  |  crime

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