• South African Train Wreck Fuels Beer Riot

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Aa3rt
From Reuters, by way of MSNBC:

(Aug. 22, 2005) JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Hundreds of looters battled police all weekend at the site of a beer train wreck in violence that left one woman dead, South African police said on Monday as they kept a heavy guard on the remaining alcohol.

The train carrying 180,000 crates of beer from South African Breweries derailed on Friday night near Waterval Boven, 124 miles east of Johannesburg, Superintendent Izak van Zyl said.

By Saturday morning, police were battling up to 200 people form the nearby township trying to make off with crates of beer.

"It was a lot of trouble from one train crash," Van Zyl said. "They were firing rubber bullets into the crowd. The issue was the beer."

A 19-year-old woman in the crowd was killed when she fell under the wheels of a truck, he said.

Police handed the site over to the railway security staff but were back again on Sunday morning, firing more rubber bullets as looters converged on the train. Officers raided nearby houses, recovered three out of 500 missing cases and arrested six people.

Van Zyl said 20 officers would remain at the site until the overturned wagons and surviving beer crates could be recovered, an operation that could take up to a week.

Link to original story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9039940/

I recall going to see a wreck on the Erie-Lackawanna in Kennedy, Chautauqua County, NY in the late 1960's when a west-bound EL freight was derailed by a town snowplow that had managed to get stuck in the crossing when the point of the plow got wedged into the rail at the crossing. A portion of the consist was TOFC cars carrying Canadian whiskey. Never in my life have I seen so many uniformed law enforcement officers in one place. However, their presence prevented the looting and lawlessness as reported in the story above.