Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has attributed the passenger train derailment that claimed one life between Mazabuka and Magoye in Southern province yesterday to suspected acts of sabotage.
One person died while 12 others people sustained minor injuries after a passenger train which was coming from Kitwe heading to Livingstone derailed in Magoye area.
In a statement issued, ZRL Public Relations Manager Caristo Chitamfya said the derailment was caused due to missing railway components known as ‘fish bolts’ and ‘fish plates’ used for joining the rail.
Mr Chitamfya said the unfortunate loss of a life and injuries occurred in the baggage van which severely affected during the derailment.
“Zambia Railways Limited is saddened by suspected acts of sabotage that occurred at 11:45 hours this morning between Mazabuka and Magoye in Southern Province causing one death and two injuries.
“Our report after initial investigations indicate that the Passenger train 201, moving from Kitwe to Livingstone derailed at Magoye due to missing railway components known as ‘fish bolts’ and ‘fish plates’ that are used for joining the rail, causing both the Baggage and Genset vans to fall on their sides,”Mr Chitamfya said.
He praised ZRL passenger train crew on duty for their quick action in averting any situation that could have led to massive loss of lives.
“This could have led to massive loss of lives, had it not been to the quick action and professionalism of the Zambia Railways crew. Zambia railways limited further wishes to commend the crew on duty for saving hundreds of lives through their quick action,” he said.
Mr Chitamfya urged members of the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious activities on the railway infrastructure.
“Report suspects to the nearest police station or Zambia Railways offices. Such acts of vandalism and sabotage cause Zambia Railways to incur colossal sums of money in repair and replacement costs.
“Zambia Railways would like to assure the general public that we will do everything possible to ensure that the passenger train remains the safest mode of transport,” he said.
He further disclosed that the passenger side of the train which had no reported injuries had since been allowed to proceed to Livingstone while recovery equipment was being sent to clear the fallen vans.