15 dead in KZN train crash
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Durban – As many as 15 people have been killed after a minibus taxi was hit by a train in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, paramedics said.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said that details were sketchy, but it is believed the taxi left the offramp on the N2 near Shaka’s Head, north of Durban, and landed on the tracks north of the Umhlali train station. It was then struck by a train.
“These are preliminary figures. We are still on scene,” Botha said on Monday afternoon.
He said that apart from the 15 dead, it was believed that two more people were in a critical condition and two were in a serious condition.
Samantha Meyrick, spokeswoman for IPSS Medical Rescue, said she was also aware that 15 people had been killed.
She said the taxi had been struck by a passenger train. She said that the train had remained on the tracks, and no one from the train was injured.
“It stopped about 100 metres from the crash,” she said.
KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu said: “A minibus which was fully laden was knocked by a train. The cause is that the taxi driver lost control, hit the guard rail and landed on the railway line.”
She said RTI officials had reported 13 dead at the scene, while Robert McKenzie from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Emergency Medical Service reported that 14 were killed.
He said that six people were being treated at the scene.
MetroRail spokesman Zama Nomnganga said he did not have all the details, but could confirm that no one aboard the train had been injured.
“There was no damage (to the train). For now the line is closed. It will have to be cleared,” he said.
MetroRail services between Durban and Stanger would be disrupted.
Umhlali is about 50 kilometres north of Durban.
* Pictures and video courtesy of IPSS Rescue