South Africans commend boy heroes who helped train crash victims
South Africans are celebrating two young boys who helped save babies from the devastating train crash near Kroonstad.
Evert du Preez and Mokoni Chaka, despite both being only 12 years old, stepped up when the time came to help the victims of the crash.
The train had collided with a truck that had ignored the railway stop sign. Despite applying emergency brakes, the train could not stop in time.
Parents who were trapped in the wreckage of the train handed their babies over to the boys, who took them to safety. Some panicked mothers threw their babies from the train, to save them from the fire that had started. The two boys, along with other people who had witnessed the crash, tried to help where possible.
However, the mangled wreckage prevented escape for some people. A total of 19 people died in the train crash - most, if not all deaths were due to the fire.
A video of the boys speaking to an eNCA reported went viral. In the video, both boys speak Sesotho, but their comments have also been translated into English.
The best of South Africa comes out at the most challenging of times. These two friends, Evert du Preez (12) and Mokoni Chaka (12), describe how they helped rescue ppl at the #TrainCrash. @eNCA pic.twitter.com/eo6qf2xalh— Michael (@TheMikeAppel) January 5, 2018
"I saw the train blowing steam before the flames appeared. I helped the young kids get to the ambulance, the elderly and grannies too. Some women threw their kids to me."— Evert du Preez
"I saw the train hit the car people jump out of windows. When I got there I helped people."— Mokoni Chaka
The boys have been hailed as heroes for their bravery. While they put on calm faces for the camera, Evert says they will never forget the screams they heard from the train.
Investigations into the train crash have been launched.
The tragedy has proved devastating for the victims and their families, South Africans have expressed admiration for those who overcame their fear to help those in need.