At least 20 people died after a freight train hit a truck carrying farmworkers in South Africa’s eastern Mpumalanga province, Joseph Mabuza, a spokesman for the region’s safety and security department, said.
Nineteen people died at the scene close to Hectorspruit, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Mozambique border, and another died on the way to the hospital, Mabuza said by mobile-phone from the site. Another 24 people were injured, he said.
The accident took place at about 6 a.m. Johannesburg time, Mabuza said. The truck failed to stop at a protected rail crossing as the train, carrying coal to Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, approached, Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned rail and ports company, said in an e-mailed statement.
More than 450 people died in “operational occurrences” on South Africa’s railways in the year through March 2011, with most of the deaths involving people being hit by trains, the Railway Safety Regulator said in its 2012 annual report.