SA truck driver charged with murder

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IOL news jul14 copy of bodies everywhere INLSA CARNAGE: The bodies of farmworkers lie near the tracks after a train ploughed into their truck. PHOTO: Mandla Khoza

The driver of a farm truck that was ripped in half by a coal train at a level crossing in Mpumalanga as he took fruit-pickers to work has been charged with 25 counts of murder.

South African police said that its investigation suggested the driver ignored clear signage, taking his vehicle into the path of the train that dragged the truck 200 metres down the track, dismembering its occupants.

“He was negligent,” police spokesperson Col Leonard Hlathi told Reuters.

Last year a Cape Town minibus taxi driver was sentenced to 20 years in jail for killing 10 children in his vehicle when it was hit by a train as he drove over railway lines while taking a shortcut on the way to school.

The latest accident on the country's ageing rail network happened on Friday, at a rural rail crossing in Mpumalanga. The train was carrying coal to Mozambique.

Police said forensic experts found it hard to establish exactly how many people had been killed. The initial death toll given was 24 while on Saturday police said it could be 26. -Reuters

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