Train skipped red light - Prasa
Johannesburg - The train collision at Denver station on Tuesday was caused when a Business Express train skipped a red light and hit a stationary Metroplus train, according to a preliminary investigation by Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa).
Metro guard Tiisetso Napo was killed and 240 people were injured in the crash.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Prasa Rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said: “The Metroplus train stopped at the station at around 6.55am yesterday‚ because (the driver) wasn't sure if the signal allowed him to proceed.
“He was communicating with the train office and had stopped for about two minutes,” he said.
The signal behind the stationary Metroplus train was red which should have protected it from any trains coming from behind. However, the driver of the Business Express jumped the red light and slammed into the Metroplus train, Mofi said.
Mofi also confirmed that there was no signal failure where the crash occurred. “This is not a time to apportion blame. We still are looking into the micro processes of this accident. Investigations will still continue,” he added.
Prasa Group CEO Lucky Montana said a R25 million purse has been established for people who suffered injuries.
“We have set aside from our insurance fund a total amount of R25 million to help people who are injured. The R25 million is for people who have suffered minor injuries,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
“People will claim and we will pay them between R7 500, which is the minimum amount, and the maximum amount we will pay is R15 000.”
He said two offices have been set up in Pretoria and Johannesburg to receive claims.
“The R25 million doesn’t involve medical costs. Prasa will pay for everyone who went to hospital. We will pay those medical bills. That is part of the practice,” said Montana.
“The claim depends on the injuries suffered. Those critically injured are not part of the R25 million. They follow a completely different process because their recovery may require more support than what we have.”
He said some of the injured may elect to involve lawyers and they would follow a different regime.
“You can’t come here. We are open for those who need assistance, no lawyers involved. Like the Road Accident Fund does it, you get injured and you come here. We pay you immediately and you continue with your life.”
Montana also added that it was too soon to assign blame for the accident . "The driver is currently in hospital after sustaining serious injuries. She has an impeccable record and recently received a 10-year safety award."
The Star and ANA