NEWS
05/01/2018 11:56 SAST | Updated 05/01/2018 13:23 SAST

Culpable Homicide Case Opened After Kroonstad Train Crash

Three children were among the injured and recovering in hospital, the Free State department of health said.

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Workers next to a wreckage offter a train crash near Hennenman in Free State, January 4, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A case of culpable homicide has been opened after a Shosholoza Meyl 37012 train and a truck collided at a level crossing in Kroonstad in Free State on Thursday.

At least 14 people died and reports indicate more than 200 were injured. Three children were among the injured.

Free State's police spokesperson Brigadier Sam Makhele said the case would be investigated and presented to a prosecutor.

He said no arrests had been made as yet.

WIKUS DE WET via Getty Images
Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (PRASA) inspectors look at a derailed train locomotive after an accident near Kroonstad in the Free State Province.

According to Free State health department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, the confirmed death toll as of Friday stood at 14. At present, the ages of those killed in the crash are still unknown, as forensics is still busy with the bodies of the deceased.

Mvambi added that those who were injured in the collision were transferred to various hospitals: Boitumelo Regional Hospital in Kroonstad –– to which a 14 year-old child was admitted, who has since been seen by her parents –– Katleho District Hospital in Virginia, and Bongani Regional Hospital in Welkom –– which admitted two children, aged 5 and 11, whose mother is still untraced.

"I am also made aware that others were sent to Medi-Clinics, but will still have to verify which clinics they are, as I am told that 10 were discharged this morning," Mvambi said.

There is currently one missing body, and recover operations at the crash site resumed on Friday morning, after being suspended the previous night.

WIKUS DE WET via Getty Images
A Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (PRASA) inspector looks at the wreckage of a car which was being transported in a train after an accident near Kroonstad in the Free State Province.

Minister of transport Joe Maswanganyi confirmed in a statement that preliminary investigations indicate that the derailment was caused by the truck, which crossed the level crossing at around 9am on Thursday morning.

Investigations have indicated that the power car caught fire, which crossed over to the next coach.