South African train crash kills 24
A coal train ploughed into a farm truck at a level crossing in South Africa today, cutting it in half and killing 24 workers on their way to pick fruit.
Regional police spokesman Joseph Mabusa said it appeared the truck driver had miscalculated when crossing the track, leaving his vehicle directly in the path of a freight train carrying coal to neighbouring Mozambique.
"It is a very gruesome scene. Some bodies are without heads and some without limbs. Forensic teams are still working on the scene," he said.
The truck was carried 200 metres by the impact, leaving body parts in its wake and making it hard for forensic experts to say how many people were killed, he added.
"The driver was taken to hospital. His condition is unknown. It's difficult to say what happened but at this stage it seems that the truck miscalculated as it was crossing the railway line."
Emergency services said at least 20 other people were injured, some of them critically, in the smash near the town of Hectorspruit, about 400km east of Johannesburg.
State rail operator Transnet said the train was carrying coal for export to Mozambique, but there was no derailment.
The coal was destined for the Indian Ocean port of Maputo.
South Africa's government has announced plans to spend billions of dollars on revamping its creaking rail network, although human error is as often to blame for sporadic accidents.