TEN people died on the spot while several others were seriously injured when the buses they were travelling on collided head-on at the 232km peg along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway, between Kwekwe and Gweru, yesterday.
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Larry Mavima confirmed the accident which occurred around 4:30am when a Gokwe-bound cross-border bus, Mandeep Tours, collided head-on with a Govasberg coach that was going towards Gweru.
It is understood that on approaching the 232km peg, the Mandeep driver dozed off and lost control of the bus, which encroached onto the right lane ahead of an oncoming Govasberg bus, resulting in the crash.
Cde Mavima said 10 people died on the spot.
“I can confirm that 10 people died in an accident when two buses collided head-on between Kwekwe and Gweru,” he said.
“It is suspected that the driver of the bus which was coming from South Africa going to Gokwe slept and the bus veered to the right while there was an oncoming bus going towards Gweru resulting in the collision.
“Police are still gathering facts and we are yet to ascertain the actual number of people that were aboard each bus as most of them were rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital.”
Cde Mavima also said they were yet to assess the condition of those that had been hospitalised.
The deceased were taken to Kwekwe Hospital mortuary.
Minister Mavima said the province has approached the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde July Moyo, to declare the accident a State of Disaster.
“We have informed Minister Moyo, who is in charge of the Civil Protection Unit, to declare the accident a national disaster. Their families will get assistance.
“It is unfortunate that we lost lives this way; we would want to urge all drivers to value life and exercise caution. This accident was caused by human error and it could have been avoided,” he said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi also confirmed the accident saying police would release the names of the victims once their next of kin were informed.
“I can confirm that there was an accident this morning (yesterday) at the 232km peg along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway. We are still to find out the actual number of passengers that were on the buses. One of the buses was coming from South Africa and the other one was going towards Gweru. The names of the victims will be released once their families are informed,” he said.
A survivor of the horror crash, Mrs Mollen Ngara, who was in the Govasburg bus, said the accident could have been caused by fatigue on the part of the Mandeep bus driver “who swerved and encroached onto our lane resulting in the accident”.