JUST IN: 7 killed, 56 injured in road traffic accidents

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Seven people died in road traffic accidents in Bulawayo and Masvingo yesterday while 56 others were injured in the two accidents.

Two people died on the spot while 37 others were injured when a Blue Horizon bus they were travelling in lost control and veered off the road before it overturned near Cement Siding on the outskirts of Bulawayo yesterday afternoon.

In Masvingo five people died, two on the spot and 19 others including four children, were injured when a commuter omnibus they were travelling in burst a front tyre near Great Zimbabwe University, Mashava campus turnoff.

The bus which overturned about 15 kilometres from Bulawayo, was coming from Harare.

The injured were rushed to United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital by ambulances and private cars.

A sombre atmosphere engulfed the scene as the police and Fire Brigade crews removed trapped bodies of two women who died on the spot after sustaining head injuries.

Bulawayo acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Linos Phiri confirmed the death of two people on the spot.

“Thirty seven people were injured while two died on the spot. The injured were rushed to UBH and Mpilo Central Hospital by ambulances and private cars.

“There are two little girls whose parents are unknown who are in the custody of the police and we suspect they are children of the two dead women or one of them,” said Mr Phiri.

He said they suspect the driver was speeding on a slippery road.

“That road is very slippery, if its drizzling drivers must exercise caution. Many buses have overturned on that road,” said Mr Phiri.

A young boy aged about nine years is said to have witnessed his mother breathe her last.

Still in shock and confusion, the young boy had to look around for his mother’s belongings and only managed to take her wallet from the scores of bags that had been put together by police for collection by the survivors.

He was later rushed to hospital in an ambulance with other injured passengers.

“We only saw the bus swerving from side to side from Chibuku brewery until it overturned near us here. A woman who was driving in the opposite direction is lucky to be alive as it encroached onto her lane and she had to swerve to the extreme left to avoid a head-on collision,” said a vendor who operates outside McDonald bricks premises.

A survivor from the bus said she suspects that the bus driver was sleeping.

In an interview with The Chronicle, the bus driver Mr Kenius Garwe (50) said the accident was caused by the slippery road.

The Masvingo accident occurred at the 35km peg along Masvingo-Mbalabala Road at around 10AM yesterday.

Meanwhile, 111 people have died in road traffic accidents between 15 and 30 December this year compared to 120 for the same period last year, police said yesterday.

National police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the country recorded 1 590 accidents this year, an increase from 1 405 during the same period last year.

“A total of 111 people have lost their lives in the traffic accidents recorded between December 15 and 30, 2018 compared to 120 last year while 1 590 road traffic accidents have been recorded compared to 1 405 during the same period last year.

“The total number of fatal accidents recorded this year is 81 compared to 97 last year while the number of people injured this year is 664 compared to 675 during the same period last year,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.

She attributed most of the accidents to human error, which include speeding, overtaking errors, misjudgement, inattention and drinking and driving.

“Some of the accidents were fatal hit and run accidents and the motorists did not bother to stop. This is against our Zimbabwean values and ethics of ubuntu and empathy which we’re known for.

“Head on collisions and side swipes involving vehicles going the opposite direction on the roads contributed to most fatalities recorded during the festive season. It’s therefore clear that drivers are not leaving adequate space when overtaking or passing each other,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.

In most cases, she added, lack of courtesy and impatience led to the accidents, which were therefore avoidable.

— Chronicle


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