(Adds details about accident, train)
JOHANNESBURG, July 13 (Reuters) - A coal train ploughed into a truck at a level crossing on Friday in eastern South Africa on Friday, killing at least 19 people on their way to pick fruit at a nearby farm, police and emergency services said.
"It is a very gruesome scene. Some bodies are without heads and some without limbs. Forensic teams are still working on the scene," police spokesman Joseph Mabusa said.
The truck was carried 200 metres by the impact, leaving body parts in its wake and making it hard for forensic experts to say how many people were killed, he added.
"The driver was taken to hospital. His condition is unknown. It's difficult to say what happened but at this stage it seems that the truck miscalculated as it was crossing the railway line."
Emergency services said at least 24 other people were injured, some of them critically, in the smash near the town of Hectorspruit, about 400 km east of Johannesburg.
State rail operator Transnet said the train was carrying coal for export to Mozambique, but there was no derailment. The coal was destined for the Indian Ocean port of Maputo.
South Africa's government has announced plans to spend billions of dollars on revamping its creaking rail network, although human error is as often to blame for sporadic accidents. (Reporting by Peroshni Govender and Ed Stoddard, Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Cropley)