When a train near Kroonstad, South Africa, hit a truck that had ignored the railway crossing stop sign, the results were devastating. Heading for the truck, the conductor applied the emergency brakes but was unable to stop in time. It collided with the truck, creating a deadly fire.
This was no minor accident. Wreckage and debris prevented many passengers from escaping. To make matters worse, there were children and senior citizens on board, unable to move quick enough to escape ground zero.
Nineteen people died, over 250 were injured in the January 4 crash, according to eNCA, but it would have been a lot worse if there weren’t heroes watching over them.
Two boys witnessed the terrible train crash.
Two such heroes were 12-year-olds Evert du Preez and Mokoni Chaka, who were nearby when they saw the crash.
They ran over right away and trapped parents handed them their kids from the train car windows. It was thanks to them that these children were able to make it to the hospital.
eNCA reporter Michael Appel interviewed them soon after and posted a video of them on Twitter. The tweet soon went viral with over 9,000 likes and over 6,000 retweets.
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
As you can likely tell, neither of the boys speak English, they instead speak Sesotho. Fortunately, both of their comments have been given English translations.
“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,” said Evert du Preez.
“I saw the train hit the car, people jump out of windows. When I got there I helped people,” said Mokoni Chaka.
While the boys seem fairly calm in the interview, make no mistake, they were just as freaked out by the incident as everybody else. Evert claims that they will never forget the screams they heard coming from the train.
Still, it’s incredible to think that two young people made such a difference here. They’ve been widely praised as South African heroes. Stay strong, boys, and never stop helping those in need!