Survivors of last week’s horrific accident that claimed 31 lives near Kwekwe have described their ordeal as horrendous.
The accident, which has been declared a national disaster, occurred after a Harare-bound Pfochez Yutong Bus burst a tyre and side-swiped a Gweru-bound Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
When our crew arrived at the scene, police, Gweru and Kwekwe Fire Brigade units and Zimbabwe National Army officers were retrieving trapped bodies from the wreckages.
Some heads had been decapitated, while limbs, intestines and other body parts were strewn all over.
And some corpses were retrieved from trees.
Ms Patricia Chihwayi, who was seated upfront next to the bus assistant, is still trying to wrap her mind around this episode that left her with minor injuries.
“I thought I wasn’t going to survive given where I was sitting. I saw everything. The driver gave up hope and released the steering wheel before he bowed his head. After impact, the upper part of his body was thrown out of the moving bus,” said a weeping Ms Chihwayi. Ms Gloria Chimuramba, who boarded the bus in Gweru, said: “. . . I cannot imagine that someone I was talking to for the greater part of the journey died in that accident. I was sitting right behind the driver when the accident occurred.
“We were sharing ground-nuts. I am still failing to come to grips with the accident. I still have flashing images of how it occurred; it will probably take me some time to get over it. It feels like a dream to me. I still do not believe it.”
Mr Matthew Boniface — one of the only two survivors from the Mercedes Benz Sprinter — said the driver did not brake when he saw the bus swerving after its tyre burst.
“There are only two people from the sprinter who survived the accident: the person who was sitting next to me and I. We were thrown out on impact, and I could tell from a distance that the driver of the bus had lost control.
“Our driver did not slow down or brake even though two other vehicles in front of us were almost hit by the bus.”
President Mugabe expressed grief over the accident and consoled families of the deceased. The State will provide US$300 for each bereaved family, while Fochez Logistics will also chip in with US$129 per family.
The Insurance Council of Zimbabwe has pledged to meet medical bills for the injured up to a value of US$10 000, and will also meet costs for private mortuaries.
The Kwekwe district administrator’s office is co-ordinating the assistance effort.
The burst tyre tragedy
Sunday Mail Reporter
Seventy-seven people have died and 338 others have been injured in 46 road traffic accidents involving or caused by vehicle tyres bursting since November 2015.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said motorists should always check the condition of their cars and avoid overloading.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is worried by the current trend where vehicle tyre bursts has contributed to many accidents.
“In order to safeguard the lives of people on the roads drivers are urged not to use worn out tyres, they should always balance their tyres as well as avoid buying second hand tyres.”
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