This dad says he stared death in the face as an onrushing freight train ploughed into his car at a railway crossing.
The train dragged the yellow BMW for several metres before it screeched to a halt.
But miraculously, Richard September and his three-year-old son survived the impact and lived to tell the tale.
Richard says when the dust settled, all he had was a gash to the head, while his little boy, Richard Junior, escaped without a scratch.
“It’s a miracle that we survived and weren’t seriously injured,” Richard tells Daily Voice.
“Our guardian angel must have worked very hard,” he laughs.
Richard says he didn’t see or hear the train until it was almost “on top” of him as he was driving over the crossing at Lebanon Farm outside Grabouw on Monday afternoon.
The freight train had to move between two high embankments a few metres from the crossing, making it nearly impossible for motorists to notice the oncoming train until the last moment, unless it sounded a whistle.
“I looked death right in the face when I saw that train coming. My first instinct was to get the front wheel across the line so the train would catch the centre of the car and it wouldn’t flip,” says Richard.
He says it was a terrifying moment when the train banged into his car, but miraculously, it didn’t crush them.
Instead, the train dragged the car for several metres “in what felt like forever”.
“The whole car vibrated and I tried to calm down my son who was frightened because of the loud sounds,” recalls Richard.
“My biggest fear was that he would be flung out or that we would be stuck in the car and burn to death.”
Rescue workers had to cut the dad from the wreck.
He received a mere eight stitches to his head, while his son was not injured.
The dad urged Transnet to upgrade safety at the crossing.
“If that was a schoolbus, lots of kids could have lost their lives or been injured,” he adds.
Transnet spokesperson Mike Asefovitz insists the train, which was transporting 11 wagons of malt from Caledon to Cape Town, should have been visible to Richard.
“The level crossing is situated close to a bend but you can see the train almost 80 metres from where the motorist was supposed to stop,” he states.
He says the train driver wasn’t injured. A formal investigation will be conducted.