Locomotive derails at Swakop
A “runaway” locomotive, which was allegedly unmanned, derailed at Swakopmund on Sunday.
The derailment occurred a few hundred metres from the place within the Swakopmund railway junction where another TransNamib train derailed in March.
No one was injured in Sunday’s accident. In fact, according to several people Erongo spoke to at the accident scene, including TransNamib officials, there was allegedly no one on the locomotive. It apparently travelled all the way from the Port of Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, unmanned.
“This was a runaway train. No one was on it and there is no one is here,” according to a source roped in to provide accident assistance at the scene.
This information was however refuted by a report released later on by the spokes person for Community Policing in the Erongo Region, Anna Frans.
"The locomotive operator Ndjamba Eail escaped the accident without injuries."
It is alleged the locomotive was travelling too fast around a bend within the junction. This caused it to derail and it landed on its side.
Unlike the accident earlier this year that killed one driver, and which included four locomotives and about 25 wagons (fuel carts and container wagons), Sunday’s accident involved just a single locomotive.
Fuel was leaking from the wreckage, and according to an official, the locomotive had about 6 000 litres on board.
When contacted for comment, TransNamib media spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer confirmed the accident.
“Unfortunately, one of our locomotives derailed at Swakopmund. We can confirm that no injuries have been reported thus far and the locomotive was not carrying any freight. Our emergency response plan has been activated and the team is on site at the scene of the derailment to assess the situation,” she said.
Asked about the fact that no one was allegedly on board when the locomotive travelled from Walvis Bay, Raubenheimer said: “So far that is the only confirmed info we have now. We will have more details once our emergency response team has investigated.”
Swakopmund residents have appealed to the Swakopmund council and TransNamib for years for the railway line to relocated out of town, especially because of all the dangerous cargo that is transported.
Swakopmund constituency councillor Ciske Smith-Howard said earlier this year that the accident in March was a "disaster waiting to happen."