By Judith Sibanda
More than 800 passengers who were aboard a National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) train from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo escaped death by a whisker, after the train hit an elephant that was crossing the railway line.
NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika confirmed the incident which happened at the 1 207,5 kilometer on Sunday evening.
“It happened at 11:30 PM at Jafuta area in Victoria Falls,” he said.
“The elephant was on the railway line and luckily the train did not derail. There was however a delay of 35 minutes at the site. The head of the train was badly damaged as a result but our passengers above 800 were not affected.”
Maravanyika said the frequency of train accidents along that route was now worrying.
“This is the third accident since mid-June and we are worried that if this is not looked into, there will be massive loss of lives one day. On June 12, the same passenger train hit and killed a giraffe at Intundla area in Hwange while a goods train the following day knocked down an elephant.
“We are worried about the trend and we hope that our colleagues from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) will be able to help us find ways of saving lives. We have two trains that ply on the same route and derailment of one will affect that other and, in such accidents, only a few can survive.”
He added that the damages to the trains have become very expensive to repair, which was in a short run going to affect their operations.