Investigators battle to confirm death toll of train accident

More than 24 hours after a deadly Shosholoza Meyl train accident‚ emergency services were combing the scene near Kroonstad in the Free State to retrieve passengers’ remains from the mangled wreckage.
04 January 2018. Firefighters busy wrapping the hoses after they dozed the flames from the Shosholoza Myl train that derailed fter it collided with a truck between Welkom and Henemam in the Free State. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/ Sunday times
Officials were still battling on Friday to determine exactly how many people had died. The death toll released on Thursday was as high as 20. But Free State police spokesman Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said that statistic could still change.

“Forensic work is being done on the remains taken out of the train to determine their origin‚” he told TimesLIVE.

“Only once that work is done can we confirm a body count.”

“Only once that work is done can we confirm a body count.”

Approximately 100 injured as Shosholoza train derails: paramedics

Workers from Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) arrived early on Friday morning to begin the arduous task of clearing the scene.

Police forensic investigators have an equally difficult task of sifting through the chaos to document not only the number of deaths‚ but also any evidence that could point to the cause of the collision.

Officials told the media on Thursday that the driver of a truck had tried to cross the railway too late as the train approached‚ but police are adamant that no blame will be apportioned until the scene is properly assessed and handed over to prosecutors for a decision.

Meanwhile‚ away from the somber scene of forensic pathologists‚ workers were cutting sections of the railway line so that heavy machinery could gain access to the eight overturned and smashed carriages.

By: Kyle Cowan -TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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