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Staff killed in South Africa Train Crash - passengers told to jump for their lives


Pretoria train crash: Runaway train passengers told 'jump for your lives'

Passengers on a luxury tourist train were told to jump for their lives after it derailed spectacularly today outside a station in Pretoria.

Pretoria Emergency workers search the scene of a train derailment in Pretoria, South Africa

Two crew, one of them pregnant, were killed when the carriages came off the tracks outside a station in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Rovos Rail trip with 59 passengers had begun in Cape Town and was close to its destination in South Africa's capital when it stopped for what is usually a routine change from an electric to a steam locomotive.

Seventeen coaches derailed and two people died at the scene. Power tools had to be used to cut some passengers from the wreckage.

"Patients were strewn all over the scene," said Werner Vermaak, one of the rescue team.

"I screamed at the others to tell them to jump off," said Rohan Vos, managing director of the train company who was on board. "I jumped off while it was moving."

Emergency worker Chris Botha said the pregnant woman went into labour immediately after the accident, possibly from the force of the impact, but neither she nor her baby survived.

The accident comes just seven weeks before hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists are expected to descend upon South Africa for the World Cup.

The passengers included 44 Americans, four each from France, South Africa and Britain, and three from Germany.

The Cape Town-Pretoria route costs between £1,000 and £2,000 per passenger for the two-day trip.

The train also traverses the famed "Cape to Cairo" route, a month-long journey between Cape Town and Egypt's capital. That trip can cost up to £36,000 per passenger.

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