Railway watchdog probes deadly Cape Town level crossing crash

2018-04-27 19:33
Seven people have been killed in a crash at the Butttskop level crossing in Blackheath. (Supplied by Kenny Africa)

Seven people have been killed in a crash at the Butttskop level crossing in Blackheath. (Supplied by Kenny Africa)

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The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) on Friday said that it was investigating the cause of a collision between a train and bakkie at a level-crossing in Cape Town which left seven people dead.

"The RSR inspectors are currently at the scene to conduct a preliminary investigation and to establish the root cause of the accident," said spokesperson Madelein Williams in a statement.

The collision took place at the Buttskop Level Crossing, which is protected by boom gates and flashing lights, at 05:46 on Friday.

READ: 7 killed after train, vehicle collide at level crossing

"The bakkie was following a taxi on Frederick Road, parallel to the railway track approaching the Buttskop Level Crossing," said the RSR.

"As the train was approaching the crossing, the taxi drove across and the bakkie followed, but was unfortunately hit by the train."

Seven people were confirmed dead on the scene.

"It is very sad and extremely concerning that this level crossing has yet again claimed the lives of road users," said RSR acting CEO Tshepo Kgare.

Seven people have been killed in a crash at the Butttskop level crossing in Blackheath. (Supplied by Kenny Africa)

"We need to re-double our efforts on our collaborations in enforcing the rail-road interface rules to ensure the safety of our people. One life lost is one life too many."

The RSR said a Level Crossing Standard was published in 2012 and approved as part of the National Road Traffic Act in November 2013.

Condolences offered to families

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport also issued a statement in which it called on the RSR urgently to determine how to curb level-crossing accidents.

"To have lost so many lives of South African workers is disheartening, almost to a similar incident that involved unsuspecting school children some years ago," chairperson Dikeledi Magadzi said in a statement.

"Agencies within the Department of Transport must move to ensure that such a similar accident does not re-occur."

Ten school children died and four were seriously injured at the crossing in August 2010.

Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was subsequently convicted of 10 counts of culpable homicide following the horror crash involving his vehicle and a train.

"The RSR should thoroughly investigate the circumstances of this kind of carnage exactly in the same spot, only a few years apart," said Magadzi on Friday.

Metrorail spokesperson, Zino Mihi, put the accident down to "human error".

"There are booms and a camera, but the bakkie ignored the signals. It was not their time to cross," she said.

Condolences were extended to the families from both the RSR and the Transport Portfolio Committee.

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