The death toll in the road accident involving a commuter omnibus and a truck along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway on Monday has risen to 19 after one more passenger died yesterday upon admission at United Bulawayo Hospitals.Meanwhile, police have identified 16 of the people who perished in the accident, while nine bodies had been collected from Neshuro Clinic by relatives yesterday.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said the 16 identified victims were: Tawedzerwa Charumbira (56), Stella Nyamutsanza (34), Amos Zirima (23), Moses Mutaurwa (20), Fungisai Jefrey (39), Loveness Masvanhire (36), Cotney Nyasha Zinhanzva (3), Tracy Zinhanzva (5 months), Susan Gwese (40), Simbarashe Manyapa (25), Martha Muzenda (36), Peter Nekate (47), Letwin Maugara (33), Patience Maugara (33), Ranganai Kudzokera and Mandingudza Shungu.
Most of the victims’ addresses were listed under streets in Masvingo.
"We are concerned with the narrowness of the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road and appeal to drivers to exercise caution on this road," said Chief Supt Nyathi.
The collection of the nine bodies by relatives brought relief to Neshuro Clinic which had been overwhelmed since it has the capacity to carry only 10 bodies.
Masvingo provincial medical director Dr Robert Mudyiradima said only six bodies remained at Neshuro.
"We had planned to transfer all the excess bodies from the Bubi accident to Ngomahuru Hospital today (yesterday) in the morning, but we cancelled the move because most of them have been collected, leaving enough space to secure the remaining bodies at Neshuro," he said.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti has since called on Government to construct a bigger hospital near the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, so that accident victims can quickly access medical attention. He also implored Government to speed up the dualisation of the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway considering the high volume of vehicular traffic, especially haulage trucks, plying the route.
Acting Beitbridge district administrator Mr Peter Moyo said four other victims were still admitted at Beitbridge District Hospital and were in a stable condition.
The Mercedes Benz Sprinter commuter omnibus, which was heading to Musina in South Africa from Masvingo, had 28 passengers, while the truck had three occupants.
The accident which occurred at around 3am on Monday claimed 14 people on the spot, while another died upon admission at Neshuro Clinic. Four others died on their way to Bulawayo while being transferred from Beitbridge District Hospital on the same day.