PHOTO: Victoria Falls from the air. (photo by David Cogswell)
An undetermined number of tourists were injured when a goods train operated by National Railways of Zimbabwe collided with a tram carrying 30 tourists at Victoria Falls.
The accident took place at 5 p.m. local time July 1 near the Victoria Falls Hotel shortly after the tram, an open-sided replica of an 1890s model, set out on its routine sightseeing route past the Victoria Falls Rainforest to the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Reports differed as to the conditions of the injured. Three were said to be seriously hurt. One is reported to have died. The injured were rushed to area health establishments.
Allianz Global Assistance USA, an insurance company, identified four of its customers who were on board the tram. At least three of them were reported injured in the crash, with injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones.
“All have received emergency medical treatment in Victoria Falls and the company has dispatched a representative to the scene to provide further assistance and arrange for its customers to be evacuated to Johannesburg, South Africa for further evaluation and treatment," according to a company statement.
One of the Allianz customers is from San Francisco, two are from Santa Monica, one is from the U.K.
According to Daniel Durazo, director of communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA, “The three customers from the U.S. have sustained moderate injuries and have been treated on the scene. We have a representative on the ground in Victoria Falls and we are working with our customers to evacuate them to Johannesburg for further treatment and evaluation.”
National Railways of Zimbabwe issued the following statement:
"There was a tragic accident involving a NRZ goods train and the Vic Falls Steam Train Company tram in the Vic Falls station at approx 1700 hours on Tuesday the 1st of July. There were 37 passengers on the tram and there were a number of injuries sustained, two of which were serious. The two injuries described as serious were evacuated to a Johannesburg. The other injured tourists were treated for the injuries in Vic Falls and are discharged. We regret to announce that one of the seriously injured died in hospital on Wednesday morning. The entire Vic Falls community offer their sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this accident. The NRZ accident investigators and the police are on site conducting investigations to establish the cause We await the results of the investigation."