/ 28 October 2005

Railway regulator appoints team to probe crash

The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has appointed a eight technical experts to probe the crash between the Blue Train and the Shosholoza Meyl in the Northern Cape on Wednesday night.

Herman Bruwer, the regulatory body’s general manager for safety assurance, said on Friday the RSR was finalising the terms of reference of an independent board of inquiry.

The team of experts would include railway expert Chris Dutton as the lead investigator and George Negoda would chair the inquiry, he said.

”We have done the preliminary investigations, but cannot release the results. We don’t want to jeopardise the entire investigation,” he said.

An official from Spoornet, one of Transnet’s divisions, said Spoornet and Transnet had also launched a joint investigation into the accident.

The railway line, which was closed between De Aar and Beaufort West, was now open and the wreckage had been removed from the scene, said Michael Asefowitz, a Spoornet spokesperson.

The four critically injured people — three were airlifted to Bloemfontein and one was flown to the Cape Town Medi-Clinic — were all in a stable condition, Europ Assist’s Dian Sharp said.

The Blue Train had been ahead of schedule and was waiting on a loop track waiting for the Trans-Karoo Express to pass.

Investigators will try to find out how they came to be on the same track, and crashed. – Sapa