PASSENGERS travelling on a Bulawayo-bound bus from South Africa yesterday panicked when a woman quietly passed away in her seat just after Esigodini.
Sethukile Mbambo, 37, who worked in the neighbouring country, was travelling in an Ebenezer Bus from South Africa to Bulawayo when a relative she was travelling with informed the bus crew that she was in a critical condition just before the Esigodini toll gate.
The bus was briefly detained at Bulawayo Central Police Station before the woman's body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) mortuary.
When reporters arrived at Bulawayo Central Police Station yesterday, the bus was parked inside the station as the bus crew was explaining to police officers what had transpired.
The body was then taken to UBH and the crew was released after some verifications.
The driver of the bus Mthandazo Thwala told reporters that the woman, who was travelling with a relative, was not feeling well when she boarded the bus in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon.
He said the relative begged them to accept her on the bus after they had declined to allow her in due to her condition.
"When we were approaching the tollgate just after Esigodini her relative approached the conductor and told him that her condition had deteriorated. Upon checking the conductor realised that she had died."
Thwala, the bus driver, revealed that it was his first time to come across such an experience. He said they informed the passengers what had happened before making a report at a police roadblock just before Bulawayo.
"We tried to inform our passengers in a professional way to avoid panic. We quickly informed police officers at a roadblock and they advised us to go straight to Bulawayo Central Police Station. We reported the incident at the station and the woman's body was taken to UBH. The woman's relative produced health cards, which gave evidence that the woman was not well and had been receiving treatment in South Africa," said Thwala.
A passenger, who requested anonymity, said she was frightened to see a person dying while she watched.
"I noticed while we were on the way that she was not well. She died just before we arrived in Bulawayo. I was so scared I couldn't wait for the bus to arrive in Bulawayo. It's fortunate that her relatives had it on record that she was not well, otherwise the bus crew was going to be in trouble with the police," said the passenger.
An official comment could not be obtained from the police.