MAPUTO, Five people were injured, one of them seriously, as a result of a collision between a goods train and no less than seven vehicles in the southern Mozambican district of Magude on Sunday.

The accident happened on a bridge at the entrance to Magude town, according to media reports here Tuesday. This bridge is both a road and a railway bridge but it cannot carry both kinds of traffic at the same time. When a train is approaching, vehicles are warned to stay off the bridge.

According to the police, the accident on Sunday was caused by the irresponsible behavior of the motorists, who disregarded the warning given by the bridge guards who had ordered the motorists not to enter the bridge, However, the motorists defied them, and the result was a collision with a goods rain coming from the opposite direction.

According to the Magude district administrator, Lazaro Bambamba, the train was travelling along the Limpopo railway line from Magude towards Maputo, while the vehicles were crossing the bridge to enter Magude town. The police and the publicly owned ports and rail company, CFM, are working at the scene to establish the details of the collision and its exact causes.

The rules for use of the bridge are that road traffic is suspended thirty minutes before any train is due to arrive, precisely in order to make collisions impossible. Security guards are stationed at either end of the bridge to regulate the entry of vehicles on to the bridge.

Bambamba said that of the seven vehicles involved, three were minibuses (known as chapas) carrying passengers. The worst damage was done to the vehicle at the front of the line, which had a head on collision with the train. The impact pushed this vehicle into the second, and that into the third, until seven vehicles were involved in the pile-up.

The wagons carried by the train were empty, which allowed the train driver to brake rapidly and bring the train to a halt before any wagons were derailed, or any cars pushed off the bridge.