Train collides with trapped van

All passengers escape the van; one train passenger lightly injured.

train crash 88 (photo credit: )
train crash 88
(photo credit: )
A driver and his passengers are very lucky to be alive after their broken-down vehicle was hit head-on by a train early Tuesday morning, only moments after they had escaped. The mini-bus, carrying eight people, was traveling from Or Yehuda to Pardes Hanna when the engine stalled, leaving it stranded on the tracks near Binyamina. After failing in his attempt to move the vehicle the driver, Ahmed Mahmid, ordered everyone to flee, just as the warning barriers were coming down signaling the arrival of the oncoming train. Miraculously, the only casualty from the crash was a lightly injured passenger from the Tel Aviv-bound train, though the mini-bus itself was completely demolished. Police spokesperson Yossi Atzor told The Jerusalem Post that due to its proximity to Binyamina station, the train had not been moving at full speed, "which undoubtedly prevented a catastrophe." He added that police and Transportation ministry engineers were currently investigating the possibility that the driver had been aware of various preexisting technical faults before setting out on the journey. The tracks were cleared within the hour and the trains were soon running as normal. In reaction to the incident, Ofer Linchevsky, Director General of Israel Railways issued a statement in which he stressed that a budget of NIS 10 million to finance the construction of a bridge or tunnel at the Binyamina crossroads had been available for six years. The problem, he said, was that the local planning board had still not given its official approval to the project. He went on to say that although Israel Railways had ensured that there was a barrier and traffic lights at every crossroads around the country, it was also the responsibility of all drivers to ensure that they stayed alert and played it safe.