Train surfing claims another young victim

Train surfing in the memory of friends who died playing the deadly sport proved fatal when a 15-year-old died in Soweto on Friday.

“The group of boys said they were train surfing in memory of three friends who died doing the same thing last Friday. One boy fell off the train and died on the scene,” said emergency services spokesperson Chief Superintendent Malcolm Midgley.

The tragedy occurred between Moletsane and Mapetla in Soweto at about 2.30pm on Friday.

The boys toy with death by train surfing for fun, said Midgley.

The often-fatal pastime was described by Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe as an “abhorrent and totally disturbing activity” in October.

The minister was speaking at the launch of the railway-safety regulatory inspection body in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

He said about 5 000 railway police will be appointed next year to help curb problems such as train surfing, and oversee the general safety of commuters.

In the meantime, the deadly game continues, with the most recent death being the fourth in the past week.

Train surfing involves climbing on the roof of a moving railway carriage, or climbing in and out of a train while it is in motion.—Sapa