Trisa Ray Sibanda
A 42-year-old woman from Tshabalala suburb in Bulawayo is battling for life at Mpilo Central Hospital after she was hit by a train in the wee hours of Friday.
Lady Phiri was hit by a National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) passenger train along the track that separates Sizinda suburb and Westgate Complex on 11 March.
The accident took place around 4.30am.
The train was travelling from the Bulawayo NRZ main station to Luveve Sideway to pick up commuters bound for the city centre.
Upon approaching a curve along the same railway line, Reginald Mujakachi, the locomotive engineman, saw Phiri trying to cross the railway line from the southern side to the northern side of Westgate Complex.
He sounded the horn, applied emergency brakes, but it was too late as the train hit Phiri.
The victim was in the company of her brother Sibongile Masuku, who had safely crossed the railway line.
An ambulance was summoned and Phiri was ferried to Mpilo Hospital where she is admitted.
She sustained serious head injuries and her condition is said to be serious.
Masuku later made a report at Tshabalala Police Station.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident and said investigations were still in progress.
NRZ acting public relations manager Martin Banda said they were concerned with the increase in cases of people being hit by trains along the rail and alleged suicidal cases.
“Indeed the NRZ regrets to advise that a lady from Tshabalala township was hit by a commuter train in Bulawayo along the track at Westgate opposite Sizinda Bar on 11 March at around 0434hours and was injured and referred to Mpilo Hospital. NRZ cannot, however, declare this incident as suicide or an accident as investigations are under way,” said Banda.
He also revealed that on the same day, at 0420 hours at Mpopoma, a male person was also injured by a train and sent to hospital.
“The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has observed with concern, the disturbing and increasing incidences of people being hit by trains, as well as suicide cases along the railway system countrywide in recent weeks and months.
“It is saddening to note that the incidents continue to occur at undesignated rail level crossings, despite the fact that all pedestrians, cyclists, drivers of both light and heavy vehicles are aware of the need to exercise extreme caution, whenever they are approaching railway lines,” said Banda.
Banda said NRZ is saddened by train accidents that result in humans being harmed.
“Let us all act and be responsible when near the railway lines as responsible citizens, it is also pertinent to mention that train drivers always hoot when they suspect a person to be very close to the track and in general from a distance of about 1km and also 20 metres, before approaching all rail level crossings, as a warning to pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and heavy transport drivers as well as public transport drivers to stop or move away from the train path.
“As an organisation we are saddened by these incidents and wish the injured a speedy recovery while we mourn with those who lost their loved ones,” he said.