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Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa, Sapa-AFP12 Apr 2008 08:40
A Metrorail passenger train derailed early on Saturday morning at Durban’s Merebank railway station, injuring 135 people—21 of them seriously.
The injured were taken to six hospitals, said KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical rescue services.
The Umlazi-bound train derailed at 6.30am. While none of the carriages overturned, a steel support of the overhead electric power cables buckled on to the second of the train’s six coaches.
Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said no one had died in the incident.
The KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical rescue service said it had already transported numerous patients to hospital and was still transporting more.
“I just fell down, I don’t know what happened,” passenger Josephine Disane said while waiting for paramedics to remove her from the scene.
The woman, who was on her way to work in Durban’s suburb of Chatsworth, said there was a lot of screaming.
It was not immediately clear how severely the train services to Durban’s southern stations would be disrupted. An investigation was under way and engineering crews were working to free the lines.
It was expected that two of the lines would be operating by late Saturday afternoon. Until then, there would be a shuttle service between the Reunion and Montclair stations.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Durban firefighter and an eThekwini metro police officer said rescue workers were confronted by a hostile crowd when they arrived on the scene. There was also an unconfirmed report of stone-throwing.
There was a heavy presence of armed police at the scene later in the day.—Sapa
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