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'Cable theft caused Atteridgeville train crash'

Around 300 people including schoolchildren were injured when a train rammed into another in Atteridgeville.

The scene of the train collision near Pretoria, on 31 January 2013. Picture via Twitter: @MedixGauteng

ATTERIDGEVILLE - Rail agency Prasa said Thursday morning's train crash in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria was caused by cable theft.

Around 300 people including schoolchildren were injured when one train crashed into the back of another.

Prasa Chief Executive Officer Mosenngwa Mofi said it was cable theft and subsequent human error that caused the crash.

"When cables are stolen it affects our signaling system we then move to what we call manual operations."

He also said they were not ruling out the possibility that a strike by the National Transport Union could be linked to the cable theft.

He said 50 schoolchildren are among the 300 people who are injured.

Two of the injured are in a critical condition.

Transport Minister Ben Martins is also on the scene of the train crash and is being taken around the by Metrorail officials and emergency services personnel.

The Minister is expected to also brief the media shortly.

EMERGENCY SERVICES QUICK TO RESPOND

Dozens of emergency vehicles were quick to respond and attend to injured commuters.

Fire engines and ambulances made their way to the crash site via a small dirt road between the Kalafong hospital and a local police station.

Meanwhile, all of the passengers who were injured in the crash have been taken to hospital.

Metrorail Gauteng's Lillian Mofokeng said both train operators were rescued.

Tshwane Emergency Service's Johan Pieterse said they managed to free one train operator who was trapped during the crash with the jaws of life.

Train services in Tshwane has been affected as a result of the crash.

Buses were on scene to transport those who were not injured.