13 Jul 2012

At least 19 die on South African level crossing

10:26 pm on 13 July 2012

At least 19 people died after a coal train ploughed into a truck carrying dozens of farm workers on a railway line in South Africa.

Victims had been "torn into pieces" and parademics were still on the scene near Malelane, east of the provincial capital Nelspruit, said provincial government spokesman Thulani Sibuyi.

"It would appear as if the truck driver may have crossed the railway line without having a proper look-out, and as a result the train hit him and then pulled him for about 1km to 2km," Mr Sibuyi said.

"The bodies are lying all over the scene, people torn apart and so forth."

Exact numbers of dead and the many injured who had been taken to hospital still needed to be confirmed, the ABC reported.

Initial reports suggested as many as 30 people had been killed at the level crossing Mpumalanga province, about 400 km east of Johannesburg

Reports from media at the scene said the coal train was destined for the Indian Ocean port of Maputo in Mozambique, while the truck was transporting about 50 people to local farms.