The death toll from one of South Africa’s worst ever rail crashes has risen to 19 including four children, the authorities said today. The passenger train, travelling from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, smashed into a lorry at a level crossing near Kroonstad in central Free State province on Thursday and burst into flames . Provincial health department spokesman Mondli Mvambi said the number of dead had risen to 19 and that work on identifying the victims was continuing. Another 164 people were admitted to hospital after the crash but only one, a 14-year-old, was still being treated on Saturday for multiple fractures.
South African police on Friday launched a manslaughter investigation, with the lorry driver central to the probe. “The truck driver was taking chances… that cost lots of lives,” Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said at the scene on Thursday. However noone is in police custody or has been charged in connection with the crash.