Monday, 19 January 2015

Zimbabwe: 24 perish in bus disaster

Twenty-four people died while 46 others were seriously injured when two buses were involved in a side-swipe at the 35km peg along the Harare-Nyamapanda Road Sunday morning.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the accident occurred when a Harare-bound Pioneer bus, owned by Unifreight, encroached into the lane of a Zupco bus which was travelling in the opposite direction.

“46 people were seriously injured and taken to Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals. Police are still verifying the number of passengers who were in the two buses,” Charamba said.

“We urge motorists to avoid speeding and drive on the correct side of the road. They should pay attention and be observant whilst moving on the road.”

When NewsDay arrived at the scene, the wreckage of the Pioneer bus was already being towed away while police and workers from the surrounding farms were loading corpses into a Unifreight lorry. Workers from former Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Ray Kaukonde’s farm were helping in retrieving the bodies from the buses.

Kaukonde’s farm, Pagejora Rubie, is close to the accident scene.

“If both the bus drivers were not speeding, maybe the accident could not have happened. The Unifreight bus driver was moving on the white line making it difficult for our driver to avoid him,” said a crash survivor, Patrick Murehwa, who was on the Zupco bus.

Another Zupco passenger, Thomas Matowo, who escaped without injuries, also said their driver was speeding.

“I was not hurt since I was at the back. I managed to pull out three other passengers,” Matowo said.

Blessing Katena from Epworth, who was travelling to Kapandaro in Mutoko, said she escaped unscathed together with her four-year-old son.

“The Unifreight bus driver encroached into our lane and we suspect he might have fallen asleep and lost control of the bus,” Katena said. Most of the casualties were on the Zupco bus which was extensively damaged with the driver said to be among the deceased.

Last August, another Zupco bus side-swiped a haulage truck 13km from the same spot and killed 13 people.

Monday 19 January 2015


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