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THREE people were burnt beyond recognition and three others escaped with minor injuries when a Mercedes Benz they were travelling in hit a donkey and rammed into a haulage truck before catching fire near Lupane early yesterday morning.

Police confirmed the horrific accident which happened just after midnight at the 172km peg along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road.

Superintendent Felix Mkandla of Lupane District Headquarters said the victims were reduced to ashes after the Mercedes Benz caught fire on impact.

He said they suspected three people died after recovering three human skulls from the ashes.

"The incident occurred just after midnight. The three people who were travelling in the Mercedes Benz were burnt to ashes and three in the truck suffered minor injuries. It is suspected the Mercedes Benz caught fire first when it rammed into the truck resulting in the haulage truck also catching fire," said Supt Mkandla.

Both vehicles were reduced to shells.

The haulage truck, owned by a South African Company, Rhythm King Trading, had two passengers on board.

Supt Mkandla said the truck driver and his two passengers were rushed to St Lukes Hospital in Lupane.

"The Mercedes Benz driver is said to have first hit a donkey and lost control and the car encroached into the right lane before ramming into the oncoming haulage truck's trailer.

"The Mercedes Benz was dragged for more than 10 metres trapped underneath the trailer before it caught fire," he said.

Police identified the deceased driver of the Mercedes Benz as Romeo Chingwira.

Supt Mkandla said the police used the car's registration number and contacted the Central Vehicle Registry to come up with his identity.

He said the other two deceased people have not yet been identified.

"It's not an easy task but we'll eventually manage to identify the other two passengers," said Supt Mkandla.

He said they called Hwange Fire Brigade which managed to arrive at the scene at around 4AM yesterday.

"When the fire brigade arrived, they found nothing but ashes as the fire had destroyed everything," Supt Mkandla said.

The Lupane accident is the second incident involving a South African truck inside a week on the same road.

Last week, a South African haulage truck was involved in collision with a bus along the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Road, claiming two lives and injuring 35.

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