|South Africa rush-hour rail crash injures 300
Two passenger trains packed with school children and rush-hour commuters collided near the South Africa capital Pretoria today, injuring up to 300 people, medics said.
The accident took place before 8:00 am local time when a commuter train heading from the suburbs to the capital ploughed into a stationary train on the same track, AFP reports.
Medical workers said up to 300 people had been treated for various degrees of injury.
“We do have 20 seriously injured,’’ said Johan Pieterse of Tshwane Emergency Services. “Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of school children on the way to school.
“We counted about 50 plus children.’’
At least three people were said to be in a critical condition according to Chris Botha, a spokesman for emergency services provider Netcare.
At least one person was airlifted to the nearby Milpark Hospital, others were taken by ambulance and many were treated at the scene.
Rescue workers struggled to cut away the tangled wreckage of the trains to free the passengers. One of the train drivers was freed from the carriage where he was trapped for two hours.
The trains were operated by Metrorail, the country's rail system in cities.
The cause of the accident is unknown.
Over 90 percent of commuter trains in South Africa date back to more than fifty years, the most recent dating from 1986.