Cape Town - A Cape Town mom is fighting for her life after she was trapped in a fire on a train which also claimed the life of another woman last week. The incident happened between the Ottery and Southfield train stations on the Southern Line on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, says once the flames were doused, the body of an unidentified person was discovered in a burnt carriage. He said the body was burnt “beyond recognition”, and confirmed a case of arson and an inquest docket was opened for investigation.
Leigh Jansen, 42, from Southfield, is now fighting for her life in hospital. Her family says the only reason why she is still alive is because, she managed to break a train window and jump out of the moving, burning carriage. They have appealed to people to pray for Leigh’s recovery.
The mother of one was on her way to work at the time, and has sustained burn wounds to her face, neck, shoulders and hands. The Metrorail train pulled into Ottery Station with flames billowing out of the two front carriages.
Leigh’s distraught mother, Ursula Schenker, has condemned the arsonists and urged authorities to clamp down on criminals targeting trains. “The plight of all the victims who were caused undue grief because of such barbaric acts needs to be maximised. Her son, ex-husband, many family members, colleagues and friends remain utterly devastated,” Ursula says.
According to Ursula, Leigh is unable to speak but could give a detailed account of what had occurred on that fateful morning by using hand gestures.
“I believe that God’s hand is evidenced by the fact that she made it out alive after her screams alerted the driver of the train. She broke the window and jumped out of the train. A woman found her lying on the grass,” Ursula says.
“Leigh indicated with her hands that she jumped through the window and that the yet-unidentified deceased victim was a female of large stature. She is obviously very traumatised and frustrated. My thoughts are with the other less fortunate victims and I will leave no stone unturned to get justice for them,” a distraught Ursula says.
“Leigh is doing better and has opened her eyes, although she is still on the ventilator. She still faces many challenges due to her lungs being compromised. The family requests that prayer’s continue,” Ursula added.
Metrorail’s Riana Scott says a reward of R25 000 is being offered for any information about the incident leading to a successful conviction. “Anyone with information or footage of the event is requested to provide it to the police. All reports will be investigated and treated in strictest confidence,” Scott said.