South Africa commuter trains collide, hundreds injured
January 31, 2013
Two trains collided outside of the South African capital Pretoria this morning, leaving nearly 300 people injured, according to BBC News. The crash was the cause of the theft of cables coupled with human error, and some schoolchildren got hurt in the process.
"Both of the trains were full of commuters and between them were lots of schoolchildren on the way to school," a spokesman for the regional emergency services told the AFP news agency.
One of the drivers was airlifted to a nearby hospital by a helicopter after he was stuck underneath the wreckage for about two hours. A local emergency services agency said that they had transported at least 200 people, whereas the 911 service said that they assisted at least 100 people. Those who were hurt were taken to hospitals in Pretoria as well as Johannesburg.
The crash occurred when one of the trains hit a stationary one, also full of commuters, in the township of Attridgeville. Even though officials know what caused the crash, they are still working to fix the problem as well as improve their aging rail network in the near future, the media outlet reports.
"When cables are stolen it affects our signaling system," rail authority head Mosenngwa Mofi told the media outlet . "We then move to what we call manual operations."
This isn't the first time this has happened either. In 2011, nearly 800 people were hurt after a speeding train hit a stationary one near Soweto.
According to NBC News, so far, 28 people are in serious condition, including the driver that was airlifted.