The body of Thomas Papier was found in a cargo carrier at the Transnet Alex Yard off Landbou Road, South Ridge.
Picture: Soraya Crowie
The body of Thomas Papier was found in a cargo carrier at the Transnet Alex Yard off Landbou Road, South Ridge. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Dead body found in railroad car

By Chantal Halata Time of article published May 9, 2013

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Kimberley - Mystery surrounds the death of a GWK employee, who went missing for two days before his body was found inside a railroad car filled with five tons of maize.

Thomas Papier, 48, was last seen alive when he reported for night-shift duty on Sunday night.

His brother, Daniel Papier, on Wednesday told the DFA that Thomas never returned home as expected on Monday morning.

“I got a message from his neighbours asking about his whereabouts because they hadn’t seen him.”

After searching everywhere, the family opened a missing person’s case with the police in Modderrivier, where he lives. They also reported it to Papier’s employer, GWK, and the company’s safety officer also opened a case with the police.

“We called all his friends, colleagues and family and everyone confirmed that he was last seen on Sunday.”

According to Daniel, GWK took a team of workers to Kimberley to check the site where his brother had been working on Sunday night.

“On Tuesday we got a call to say he was found dead in the railroad car.” He said that it was a huge loss to the family.

Co-workers on Wednesday were baffled by the incident, stating that it was virtually impossible for someone to fall into the car, as the feeding of maize into the car was fully mechanised.

“The night he went missing we loaded five tonnes of maize. How he fell in there was bizarre and shocking,” one co-worker said.

The Modderrivier police on Wednesday confirmed that it was investigating an inquest into his death.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant Sergio Kock, said Papier’s body was found in a railroad car containing maize at the Alex Yard in Kimberley.

He said an autopsy would be performed to confirm the exact cause of death.

All information regarding the incident can be forwarded to Detective Warrant Officer Hercules Kok at 082 301 9995. The investigation continues.

Neil de Klerk, executive manager of corporate marketing of GWK, expressed his condolences to Papier’s family on behalf of the company. “We are saddened by his death. Everything possible is being done to support his family in this difficult time.”

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