The heavy storms of Monday (12 December) led to the derailment of a train between Worcester and De Doorns late that evening. This after heavy rain caused damage to the railway network.
Worcester Standard was informed of the incident near Kanetvlei late on Monday and rushed to the scene. Authorities including the police, traffic and fire brigade were already on the scene.
A hazmat team was also called in for help as around 4 000 F of diesel started leaking from the train after the accident.
“Hazmat is on the scene to ensure that all hazardous material protocol is followed and how to deal with the situation,” read a statement from Transnet.
“We can confirm that a train did derail and that the authorities are doing everything in their power to resolve the situation. Two people were rescued from the train, but were unharmed.”
Trains were severely delayed on Tuesday until the train wreckage was successfully salvaged.
Michael Davids told Standard that the accident may have occurred because infrastructure on the railway line was damaged due to the large amount of rainfall in the area.
Residents were worried the diesel could end up in a nearby river stream, polluting their drinking water.
However, the Breede Valley Municipality’s department of water and sanitation confirmed it is aware of the situation, but noted the river flows several metres from the wreck.
“The teams are working hard to combat the situation. The river is currently flowing very strongly and, if diesel did flow into it, it would stick to rocks. It thus poses no danger to drinking water or water in general.”
They further explained that the river’s water flows to a Worcester dam, from which water is used for irrigation. The excess water that overflows is pumped to other parts of the waterworks system and is purified.