Updated: 04/01/18 : 13:43:08
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World :: Twelve dead - 180 injured - in South African truck/train collision

A passenger train has caught fire in South Africa after colliding with a truck, killing at least 12 people and injuring 180, an official has said.

Video footage showed a fire blazing through at least one carriage, by a crushed car and an overturned truck.

Evacuated passengers were seen standing on the roadside with luggage.

The collision occurred near Kroonstad city in Free State province, after the truck failed to stop at a crossing, a passenger told local media.

About 850 passengers had been safely evacuated from the train, police were quoted as saying.

The driver of the truck tried to flee, but was arrested by police, passenger Seipati Moletsane told the privately owned eCNA news site.

Passengers in the first two coaches were wounded, she added.

"I was so traumatised. I didn't know what to do. I was looking for a door just to jump out. Every door was locked... All of a sudden, we just saw smoke, smoke, smoke," Ms Moletsane said.

Firemen rushed to the scene and battled the blaze on the train, which had been travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg.

At least 12 people were killed and 180 injured in the collision, Free State government health spokesman Mondli Mvambi told AFP news agency.

The number of dead could rise, he added.

The train was travelling from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth to the commercial capital, Johannesburg, when the crash occurred.