The West

Wedding smiles, then tragedy

In the photograph, groom-to-be Peter Holmes a Court is smiling happily behind close friends William Poovey and wife Kara on a tourist tram in Zimbabwe.

Minutes later, a freight train slams into the back of the tram, throwing people out of their seats and the tram, and severely injuring 43-year-old Mr Poovey.

The American father of two was flown to South Africa but later died.

His wife, who reportedly had a broken jaw, was also treated in Johannesburg.

Peter's brother, prominent Perth businessman Paul Holmes a Court and his two eldest daughters, aged eight and nine, were also on the 20-minute sightseeing trip to Victoria Falls on Tuesday last week.

They have now returned home. One of the girls broke an arm in the accident. Like many of the others on the tram, he had been in Africa to attend Peter's wedding in Botswana on Sunday to American photographer Alissa Everett.

Despite reports the wedding had been postponed, The West Australian was told the ceremony went ahead at the weekend, though some guests could not attend because of their injuries.

A friend of Ms Everett told Fairfax Media there were "screams of terror" when the freight train hit.

"Everything went flying," she said. "The tram slid 200 to 300 yards, and people were thrown out."

The groom had minor injuries and his fiancee was not hurt, but his best man Jason Gissing was treated for a broken arm and leg.

News website NewZimbawe.com reported the governing body of the country's railways - National Railways of Zimbabwe - could face legal action over the incident.

There were 34 tourists and crew on the tram, operated by The Victoria Falls Steam Train Company.

Up to 20 passengers were hurt.

The collision came after two derailments on Zimbabwean railways last month.

Peter and Paul Holmes a Court, sons of businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court, were contacted for comment.

The West Australian

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