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Injured train passengers rescued

Injured train passengers rescued

Niël Terblanché


OF the 59 people on board the train that derailed between the small settlements of Asab and Tses in southern Namibia late on Wednesday night, only five were seriously injured.


One person, who went looking for help on foot, was reported missing, while most of the passengers were able to walk about five kilometres to the B1 Road where they were picked up by ambulances and transported to hospitals for medical treatment and observation.


Two of the critically injured passengers were trapped in the wreckage of the passenger cars for hours while they waited for emergency services to free them and attend to their injuries.



According to members of the emergency services, the accident occurred at about 23:00 on Wednesday night.


Those who attended to the injured passengers indicated that the rescue effort was extremely difficult because of the distance that they had to travel to reach the chaotic scene.


The site where a bridge collapsed beneath the moving train is about five kilometres away from the main road and medics had difficulty negotiating muddy ground in the dark.


People stranded at the train wreckage lit fires and used the bright screens of their mobile phones to guide members of the emergency services to their position in the dark.


It took members of the emergency services and the Namibian Police several hours to get all the injured and walking passengers to safety.


The rising sun enabled people to negotiate the muddy ground and to see their way to the B1 Road between Keetmanshoop and Mariental from where they were picked up and transported to various hospitals for treatment and observation.


The chaotic accident occurred when a railway bridge collapsed under the train following heavy rains and a flood at the start of the week. The floodwater weakened the foundations of the bridge.


In the meantime, a search for the missing person, who went looking for help on foot, was launched.


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