Transport MEC to Monitor Train Accident Investigation
This morning Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Robin Carlisle, visited the scene of an accident at the Buttskop level crossing between Blackheath and Melton Rose Stations. According to police and witnesses, a mini-bus taxi overtook several stationary cars at the crossing, and was struck by a train while attempting to navigate across the track between the lowered booms.
Nine (9) schoolchildren who were travelling in the taxi are known to have been killed as a result of the accident. Four (4) children are currently at Tygerberg Hospital and one (1) at Red Cross Childrens Hospital. The driver of the vehicle is in stable condition at Kuils River Private Hospital.
The Minister is shocked by the loss of innocent human lives in the accident. "Im devastated that young people lost their lives and others sustained injuries on their way to school because of the utter recklessness of the driver.
I met with some of the parents of the children, and was able to convey my deepest condolences for their loss. My thoughts and those of my staff and department are with them during this painful time. I wish the injured learners a speedy recovery so that they can focus on their studies.
I will keep a close eye on the investigation to ensure that justice is served. I will also work together with Metrorail and law enforcement agencies to do everything humanly possible to ensure that a tragedy like this does not happen again and will include this kind of accident in the Safely Home program. I also appeal to all motorists to be extra cautious when approaching railway crossings to prevent avoidable tragedies.
ENatis records show that the vehicle is roadworthy and linked to a valid operating license. According to the conditions of the operating license of the vehicle it is allowed to transport learners from their individual residences to Bellville Technical High School and Labiance School only. However, the vehicle was also carrying learners from other schools.
My department is currently investigating whether the taxi driver may have breached the Code of Conduct for public transport operators. If we can establish that this was the case, we will pass the information to the police for additional charges. If we can further establish that the driver flagrantly disregarded the conditions of his operating license we will not hesitate to cancel that license," concluded Minister Carlisle.
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Provincial Government
Cell: 083 641 9691
Tel: 021 483 8954