VIDEO: Rail Regulator to investigate Gauteng train crash
Johannesburg - The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) is investigating the Joburg crash in which two trains collided and claimed the life of a passenger.
A few other people were injured.
The crash occurred just before 10pm on Wednesday when two trains collided on the tracks in Horizon View, west of Johannesburg.
A Premier Classe passenger train collided with a goods train that was stationary at the time of the crash. Several carriages of the trains derailed following the impact.
The regulator's Madelein Williams said they rushed to the scene after the accident to conduct a preliminary investigation into the cause of the crash.
"We can confirm that the passenger train collided with the rear-end of the goods train. Both trains were authorised by the Maraisburg Centralised Traffic Control (CTC). Furthermore, manual authorisation is currently being used as the working method for controlling train movement in this section.
The RSR will release a statement on the preliminary findings into the collision within the next 48 hours," she said.
However, the United National Transport Union (Untu) said it was "seriously" questioning the competence of the regulator as the watch dog over rail safety and with the obligation to ensure compliance with safety regulations in South Africa.
Untu said RSR has no teeth.
General Secretary of Untu Steve Harris said Transport Minister Fikile Mbulula must dissolve the current board of the regulator saying members have been appointed on a month to month base since their contacts expired in October last year,
“To date the RSR has taken no accountability or even attempt to approach the Gauteng North High Court to review its two court orders because of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) inability to adhere to rail safety previsions.
“The RSR has no teeth and cannot be compared to other watch dog institutions like Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If the CAA grounds an airline, it remains grounded until it is declared safe to start operating again. The RSR on the other hand, simply turns a blind eye,” Harris said.
ER24's Russel Meiring said when they and other other paramedics arrived at the scene, they found a man and an elderly woman trapped inside the carriage of the passenger train.
He said they assessed them and found that the man had sustained numerous injuries and showed no signs of life.
"Unfortunately, nothing could be done by paramedics. The elderly woman was assessed and found to have sustained numerous injuries and was in a critical condition.
Meiring said they worked for over two hours to free the entrapped woman from the train.
"Once freed, paramedics treated the woman and provided her with several advanced life support interventions before she was airlifted by a private medical helicopter to a private hospital for further care.
Approximately 30 other patients were tended to on the scene by numerous services. Three patients were initially transported to hospital whilst the remaining patients declined transportation," he said.
Passenger Rail South Africa's Nana Zenani said alternative transport was arranged for the rest of passengers to their various destinations.