13 perish in horror Zupco bus crash & a haulage truck

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A woman looks in disbelief at the wreckage of cross-border Zupco bus which plunged into a dry riverbed, killing 13 people along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway on Monday night. — (Picture by Justin Mutenda)
A woman looks in disbelief at the wreckage of cross-border Zupco bus which plunged into a dry riverbed, killing 13 people along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway on Monday night

This year’s Heroes and Defence Forces holidays — to be commemorated early next week — have started on a sad note with at least 31 people having died in two major road accidents, 13 of them perishing on Monday night along the Harare-Nyamapanda Road. The accident, involving a Zupco bus travelling from Malawi to Harare and a Nyamapanda-bound haulage truck, came after 18 passengers had died in an accident involving a South Africa-registered truck and a commuter omnibus along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway last week.

The number of the deceased from the two accidents is alarming, considering that 38 people died in road accidents during the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays last year.

In the Harare-Nyamapanda crash, 18 other passengers were seriously injured when the Zupco bus side-swiped with the haulage truck before plunging into a dry riverbed.

The accident occurred at the 22-kilometre peg along the highway, just after the tollgate at Shamva turn-off and both drivers survived.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said 10 people died on the spot, while three others died on admission at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

“The truck driver, Wonder Nyamurambe (42) who was travelling from Harare towards Nyamapanda stopped just after the bridge on realising that there were some clothes dumped in the middle of the road,” he said.

“The driver alleges that he stopped his truck thinking that there were people sleeping on the road and then started reversing his vehicle to avoid running over the objects.”

Chief Supt Nyathi said the bus, which had 43 passengers and moving from the opposite direction, veering off the road after the side-swipe.
Visibly shaken witnesses who first arrived at the scene said it took some time before the injured people could get help and some died while they watched.

Mr Crispen Benjamin said ambulances arrived almost two hours after the accident.
“Help came late and many people who were crying for help died while we watched,” he said. “We were helpless.”
Mr Edmore Mujeri said he ferried some of the injured in his vehicle to Parirenyatwa Hospital.

A survivor of the accident who is admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Mrs Christine Ndoro, said she was taken to the hospital after nearly four hours of agony.

“Preference was given to those who were in a more serious condition,” she said. “I was ferried in the second trip. The bus was speeding and I do not know what really happened. It just flew and plunged into the bridge.”

Another survivor who refused to be named and is admitted at the same hospital said the bus was speeding.
“I was dosing and I remember that the bus was speeding,” he said. “The deaths and injuries are a result of the impact of the high speed.”

Source: Herald