South Africa-Train-Crash

S/Africa: Human error behind fatal train crash - Regulator

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South Africa’s Railway Safety Regulator (RSR)’s preliminary probe on Thursday found that the fatal crash at Mountain View railway station in Pretoria on Tuesday was partly a result of a breakdown in communication between the train driver and the train control officer.

Four people died and many more were injured when one train, en route to Pretoria Station, collided with the rear of another train, destined for the Belle Ombre station. Both trains departed from the Mabopane station and were carrying 800 passengers.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the RSR said based on the data received from PRASA, the train company, the section from Pretoria North to Mountain View has been operating under manual authorisation since November 2018.

The report indicated that there was a breakdown in communication between the train control officer (TCO) and the train driver that was en route to the Pretoria Station.

“After the train driver repeated the authority incorrectly, the TCO acknowledged the incorrect authority. This resulted in the train entering the section between the Pretoria North and Mountain View station wrongfully.

“The train driver and TCO did not comply with the Language Policy when authorising,” the regulator said.

The RSR said the damage observed on the coaches of both trains indicates that the train to Pretoria Station may have been travelling at a considerable speed as well.

During abnormal trains working, in particular when trains are manually authorised, trains are required to travel at a speed of 30km/h. The exact speed will, however, only be confirmed once the event recorder data is received and analysed by the RSR.

Acting RSR chief executive Tshepo Kgare said accidents such as the Mountain View incident, indicated that PRASA was in contravention of its own standard operating procedures as well as the directives of the regulator.

NM/jn/APA

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