Another horror bus disaster hits Zim

HARARE - In yet another tragic and horror road accident, 42 people were burnt beyond recognition on Thursday evening, while 26 others were seriously injured when the bus they were travelling in caught fire and exploded near West Nicholson.

It is suspected that the tragedy was caused by a leaking gas cylinder among the bus’s luggage.

This latest road tragedy comes hard on the heels of another horrendous accident which claimed 46 lives when two buses collided in Rusape.

Police said yesterday that the Brooklyn Express bus, which had about 70 passengers aboard, was travelling from Zvishavane to South Africa when it caught fire and was reduced to a complete wreck at around 11pm along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa immediately sent a message of condolences and support to the families of all the deceased and the injured.

“I was devastated to learn of last night’s (Thursday’s) tragedy, the second major accident in recent weeks. The thoughts and prayers of a grieving nation go out to the wounded and the families of those killed.

“We will ensure they get the care and support they require,” he said on Twitter.

In the meantime, the government has since declared the accident a national disaster and also set aside $15 000 to assist the bereaved families.

National police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, said investigations into the incident were under way.

“The remains of the deceased will undergo post-mortems at Gwanda Provincial Hospital and the names will be announced once the bodies have been identified and the next of kin have been advised.

“The driver and other passengers who were injured were taken to Gwanda Provincial Hospital for treatment,” she said.

Officials at Gwanda Provincial Hospital said most of the injured passengers were in a stable condition, with the exception of five people who had severe burns and who had been referred to Bulawayo.

Narrating the unfortunate incident, the driver of the bus, Ndabazinhle Sikhosana — who escaped with minor injuries — said he had sensed a strange smell in the bus prior to the tragedy, leading him to switching on its interior lights.

Soon after, the bus had caught fire, with trapped passengers attempting to escape the inferno through windows.

The managing director of Brooklyn Express, Nqobile Ndlovu, said they were gutted by the loss of lives and the injuries suffered by passengers who were aboard their bus.

“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences and apologies to the relatives and families of the deceased whose lives were lost in the accident.

“We would like to also extend our sincere apologies to Zimbabwe as a whole and we stand in prayer with the bereaved families, praying for strength while we all try to come to terms with what has happened.

“To those who were injured, we wish you a speedy recovery,” Ndlovu said.

Zimbabwe has in recent years witnessed a surge in horror accidents which have often been blamed on human error.

In April, 13 people perished while 31 were seriously injured when a Chawasarira bus collided with a commuter omnibus outside Kadoma.

A King Lion bus killed 43 people and injured 30 others when it was involved in a horrendous accident in June last year — just outside Karoi.

The accident occurred a few weeks after 31 people, mainly cross-border traders, were burnt beyond recognition when a South Africa-bound Proliner bus that they were travelling in was side-swiped by a haulage truck and caught fire at Nyamatikiti River, in Chirumanzu.

In another grisly accident in March 2017, a grieving Bulawayo family was hit by double tragedy when 13 of its members were killed on the spot in a horrific accident when their minibus, which was ferrying the body of a deceased relative for burial in Masvingo, was mangled by a haulage truck near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).

Comments (1)

That route + byo hre need serious upgrades , and road cameras must be put in place...panekutora mari moti ma Japanese , tipeyi zvedu tigadzire ma camera anemusoro anofunga , nekutaura nadhiraivha kana pane problem...investment hayiwuye mahara. Its 50:50 or 70:30 in private investor's favour kunyika dzinemari. Grant re 18Mn ?? gov chaiyo hayitaure zvakadaro....ndo mari inopihwa makamba madiki mujapani.

Sally Fenny - 17 November 2018

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