South Africa driver fired over Soweto train crash

  • 25 May 2011
  • From the section Africa

A South African train driver has been fired for causing an accident which injured more than 850 people last week.

The investigation showed that the man had been driving at 85 km/h (53 mph) in an area where the limit was 30km/h, reports say.

Many passengers were flung out the window when the speeding train ploughed into a stationary one in Soweto on Thursday evening.

No-one died but it was described as the biggest crash in recent years.

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) spokeswoman Nana Zenani said although the driver has slowed down before impact, it did little to help the passengers.

"At the point of impact he had already decelerated as much as he could, to around 33 kilometres, but the point is when you're driving a train, you're then working on velocity," she said, AFP news agency reports.

"He shouldn't have been doing 85 in a 30 zone to begin with."

Prasa said no criminal charges would be filed against the driver.

Prasa also said in a statement it had established a 20 million rand ($2.8m; £1.7m) fund to compensate victims of the Soweto accident and another crash last month in Pretoria that killed a train driver and left some 200 people injured.

More than two million passengers travel daily on South Africa's commuter trains.

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