By Leonard Ncube
A 38-YEAR-OLD man from Victoria Falls died when he was crushed by a passenger train in a suspected case of suicide.
Hilton Makanda (38) of Mkhosana suburb’s Mfelandawonye section was cut into pieces near a dumpsite, less than 10km from the Victoria Falls train station
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) train was approaching Victoria Falls from Bulawayo at around 3PM on Saturday when the incident occurred.
NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said investigations were underway.
“We heard about the sad incident where one person was killed by a train. Police attended the scene and investigations are still underway to establish whether it was suicide or not,” he said.
Passengers who witnessed the accident said they suspected that the death was a result of suicide as Makanda was lying across the railway line despite warnings to move away.
“It happened near the dumpsite. We heard the noise of the train hooting continuously and we could see a person lying across the railway line since it was at a curve. The person didn’t move at all and he was crushed. The train stopped a few hundred metres away and we ended up further delaying to get to the station,” said a passenger who was on the train.
Makanda’s body was cut on the neck and both legs.
A source said after he was crushed, Makanda’s head landed on one side of the rail while both legs were on the other side, with the middle part of the body on the track.
According to sources close to the issue, Makanda may have committed suicide because of a long standing domestic dispute with his wife.
The couple separated last year, a source said.
Police attended the scene and took Makanda’s body to Victoria Falls District Hospital mortuary.
Police were not readily available to comment yesterday.
The NRZ has previously expressed concern over people committing suicide on railway lines.
Some suicide cases involve women carrying young children.
“Suicide cases involving people who throw themselves in front of on-coming trains and those that sit on the railway lines are on the increase, a scenario which is of major concern to the NRZ and the public at large. People should seek counselling when confronted with challenges and seemingly difficult situations,” the NRZ said in a recent statement.
“Some children and adults have been seen lying and sitting on railway lines, which is dangerous. These practices should be discouraged as they may result in people losing their lives. We’re appealing to the general public to desist from such retrogressive acts and report such cases to the nearest police or railway security stations.”
Two months ago a Bulawayo man Thembani Mpofu (34) was killed after he jumped in front of a Victoria Falls bound goods train near Bulawayo City Council’s Luveve Water Works.
Another man, 25-year-old Trust Shoko from Majindane village in Sawmills area, Matabeleland North, was also killed when he jumped onto the railway line as a goods train was approaching.
Late last year a 19-year-old woman from Magwegwe North suburb in Bulawayo died after she also jumped onto the railway line with her two-year-old son as a train was approaching Luveve Railway Station. Both mother and son died on the spot. The Chronicle.