S Africa train in fatal crash with truck

At least four people are killed and 40 wounded in the crash and fire, rescue workers say.

A passenger train has caught fire in South Africa after colliding with a truck, killing at least 12 people and injuring 268, officials have said.

Video footage showed a fire blazing through at least one carriage, by a crushed car and an overturned truck.

Evacuated passengers were seen standing on the roadside with luggage.

The collision occurred near Kroonstad city in Free State province, after the truck failed to stop at a crossing, a passenger told local media.

About 850 passengers had been safely evacuated from the train, police were quoted as saying.

The driver of the truck tried to flee, but was arrested by police, passenger Seipati Moletsane told the privately owned eCNA news site.

Passengers in the first two coaches were wounded, she added.

“I was so traumatised. I didn’t know what to do. I was looking for a door just to jump out. Every door was locked… All of a sudden, we just saw smoke, smoke, smoke,” Ms Moletsane said.

A tweeter posted a video of the fire.

Shosholoza train derailed outside Kroonstad.@maroelamedia @afriforum @IanCameron23 @HantiO @crimeairnetwork pic.twitter.com/hsq4uuQuWC

End of Twitter post by @Marius4060

The emergency services rushed to the scene and battled the blaze on the train, which had been travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg.

Officials fear the number of dead could rise, reports the BBC’s Lebo Diseko from Johannesburg.

Passenger Tiaan Esterhuizen told South Africa’s TimesLive news site that he and his family managed to get off the train, and he then tried to help three women trapped in the mangled wreckage.

“Two of the women were sort of on top of each other. Another was further back. Her legs were trapped. One of the women was shouting that there was a baby inside also. We searched but could not find the child,” Mr Esterhuizen was quoted as saying.

The flames became intense, forcing him and others to retreat, he said.

“We used some fire extinguishers the police had‚ but it didn’t work. I am quite sure those women burned to death‚” Mr Esterhuizen was quoted as saying.

The train was travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg, when the crash occurred.

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