By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
03 July 2014
Twelve tourists, including a boy, were injured Tuesday after a tram they were travelling in collided with a goods train in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Reports say there were no fatalities although three of the tourists were seriously hurt. The collision occurred near the Victoria Falls Hotel around 5pm when the goods train, which was coming from Hwange, rammed into the tram.
Victoria Falls Mayor Sifiso Mpofu confirmed the incident in an interview with the State-owned Herald newspaper and said the injured had been hospitalised. But he denied any of them were seriously injured.
“Twelve foreign tourists have escaped death with bruises. Their condition is stable since they did not sustain serious injuries,” Mpofu said.
Residents who spoke to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the goods train changed lanes, onto the path of the tram, leading to the collision.
The tram was hit just after pulling off towards Jafuta Lodge, where the tourists intended to have their supper. Their guide, an employee of Victoria Falls Steam Train Company, jumped off to safety leaving the 30 tourists on the tram.
The open-sided trams are used to transport tourists to the town’s star attractions such as the Victoria Falls Bridge and Rainforest.
Saungweme said a signal error was the most likely explanation for the accident.
“But even if this is the case it is unlikely that this is a problem the troubled National Railways of Zimbabwe will be sorting out once and for all as it is linked to the theft of copper which is used in the signals system.
Senior government officials have been implicated in the nationwide vandalism of signals equipment for copper, which is then sold on to firms in China.
Saungweme said hope was now pinned on the reappointed ex-NRZ chief Alvord Mabena to revive the ailing parastatal and bring its operations back to a decent standard.