Booms 'were working when train crashed'

An initial investigation into Wednesday's taxi and train crash which left at least eight children dead outside Cape Town, showed that all protection measures were in place at the level crossing, the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) said.

"The crossing is protected by road signs, flashing lights and booms, which were confirmed to be in working order," a statement read.

"This is the maximum level of protection which can be afforded to a level crossing. The investigation will, amongst others, look at how the accident could have occurred, despite these measures," said spokesperson Lavinia Mahlangu.

ER24 said eight school children who were being transported in the taxi were found dead at the scene of the crash at the level crossing on Buttskop road, Blackheath.

Spokesperson Andre Visser said four of the children survived the initial impact but two were still trapped in the taxi.

"The children were then cut out of the vehicle before they could be extricated and taken to hospital. One of the pupils who was rushed to hospital later died."

Police were not immediately available to confirm the ninth fatality.

The RSR said there were no injuries on the train after the crash between Blackheath and Eersterivier stations.

The Western Cape government's MEC for education Donald Grant and MEC for health Theunis Botha were expected to visit the Tygerberg Hospital where the children were being treated.

They will then proceed to the Blackheath Civic Centre, where a disaster management team will debrief families and community members affected by the tragedy.

A team of counsellors would assist during the debriefing and would also provide counselling at the schools the pupils came from.

Both the RSR and Grant extended condolences to the families of those in the accident.

ER24 said Wednesday's crash was the third major crash involving a train in Cape Town in the past three weeks and urged road users to be extra vigilant at railway crossings. - Sapa


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