Hennenman–Kroonstad train crash

Hennenman–Kroonstad train crash
Photograph of the type of locomotive hauling the train
A Sheltam locomotive similar to that which was involved in the crash.
Collision site is located in South Africa
Collision site
Collision site
Location of the collision in South Africa
Date4 January 2018
Time09:15 local time (07:15 UTC)
LocationNear Kroonstad, South Africa
Coordinates27°49′19″S 27°8′4″E / 27°49′19″S 27°8′4″E / -27.82194; 27.13444
Rail linePort Elizabeth - Johannesburg
OperatorShosholoza Meyl
Type of incidentLevel crossing collision
CauseUnder investigation
Statistics
Trains1
Passengers429
Deaths21
Injuries254

On 4 January 2018, a passenger train operated by Shosholoza Meyl collided with a truck on a level crossing at Geneva Station between Hennenman and Kroonstad, Free State, South Africa. The train was derailed and seven of the twelve carriages caught fire. Twenty-one people were killed and 254 people were injured.

Accident

At about 09:15 local time (07:15 UTC) on 4 January 2018,[1] a passenger train, operated by Shosholoza Meyl, carrying 429 passengers, was travelling from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg when it collided with a truck on the Geneva Station level crossing, around 200 kilometres (120 mi) south-west of Johannesburg.[2][3][4][3][5][6]

Witnesses stated that the truck failed to stop at the level crossing,[7][8] despite the train driver giving warning by blowing the horn. The truck, along with its two trailers, was dragged for around 400 metres (1,300 ft),[1] and a car being transported on the train[9] was also crushed by the derailed train.

The locomotive hauling the train was Class C30EMP diesel-electric locomotive № 3018, owned by Sheltam.[10] The locomotive and 12 carriages of the train were derailed;[2] seven carriages caught fire.[11] Overhead electrical wires had snapped during the collision, causing the fire.[12]:9 The first responders were local farmers and their workers who rushed to the collision site with fire-fighting equipment and began pulling people out of the burning carriages.[12]:9 Eyewitness and farmer Willie du Preez, said that the fire began 10 minutes after the collision, with the first flames behind the locomotive which spread towards the derailed carriages and trapped passengers.[13]:2 Twenty-one people were killed[14][15] and 254 were injured.[2] At around 20:50 local time, the search and rescue was called off.[16]

The truck driver survived the collision and tried to flee the scene but was arrested[8] and taken to a hospital.[3] Police have opened a manslaughter case against the driver.[17] The driver of the truck tested negative for alcohol at a police station.[18]:1