Lead SALead SA

South Africans commend boy heroes who helped train crash victims

Written by: Megan Ellis

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.

"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.




Read next from articles

Lead SA Inspiration: How RAG APK and its chairperson are helping students

Lead SA Inspiration: How RAG APK and its chairperson are helping students

RAG APK and its chairperson are promoting a culture of kindness and giving back that inspires those who want to make a difference.
Read on...

R1million maths & science hub launched at Soweto school

R1million maths & science hub launched at Soweto school

A Soweto school is now the location of a state-of-the-art maths and science center worth nearly R1-million.
Read on...

Academy offering free training to tackle unemployment in the Karoo

Academy offering free training to tackle unemployment in the Karoo

An academy in Somerset East is offering free training and courses to locals so that they upskill and find employment opportunities.
Read on...

Mother's Day campaign seeks show solidarity with new moms

Mother's Day campaign seeks show solidarity with new moms

The Embrace movement is calling on mothers to show solidarity with new moms as part of their Mother's Day initiative.
Read on...

UCT professor named in list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

UCT professor named in list of World's 50 Greatest Leaders

A UCT professor has appeared in Fortune’s list of The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, but who is Prof Kelly Chibale? Find out here...
Read on...

Refugee, 12-year-old complete Robben Island swim for charity

Refugee, 12-year-old complete Robben Island swim for charity

A Congolese refugee and 12-year-old boy teamed up to complete a swim to Robben Island to raise funds for charity
Read on...