A National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) train derailed in Bulawayo early on Friday killing two employees and injuring seven others.
NRZ spokesman Nyasha Maravanyika said the accident happened in Redbank, 30km from Bulawayo close to the highway to Victoria Falls after sand was dumped on the railway tracks following heavy rains.
The goods train travelling to Bulawayo was carrying coal, coming from Sawmills, a railway yard in Umguza district, Matabeleland North.
Maravanyika said: “The derailment happened just after midnight. The accident was caused by sand that covered the rail road level crossing following heavy rains. This caused our locomotive to go off track.”
He said 11 NRZ employees were onboard at the time.
“We are sad, we are sorrowful because this incident took away two lives,” Maravanyika said, noting that fatalities from goods train accidents were very rare.
The NRZ believes farming activities along the railway line loosened the soil, which was then swept onto the tracks following heavy rains.
“As NRZ, we encourage communities not to do agricultural activities along railway lines. We should all protect and preserve railway reserve land and railway equipment to avoid loss of lives through accidents,” he said.
One of the dead men has been named as Tawanda Makombe, who was also the vice chairman of the Bulawayo Volleyball Association.