LifeStyle & Health

Bus crew relives moments before horror crash that claimed 36 ZCC members 

The driving force, Mhlanganisi Khumalo speaks from his hospital mattress.

Ray Bande in CHIPINGE

THE rushing St Charles Lwanga Excessive Faculty driver, whose bus misplaced brakes, veered off the highway and rolled a number of occasions earlier than touchdown over 200 metres down the steep, killing 36 individuals on the spot on Thursday evening, has blamed lack of satisfactory roadside signage for the calamity.

The accident, which occurred 5km from Jopa turn-off alongside Chimanimani-Chipinge Street, noticed the bus touchdown on its facet after throwing out many of the passengers aboard.

The varsity bus was employed by ZCC members from Chimanimani East, Tilbury Property, travelling to Mbungo Shrine for the Easter gathering in Masvingo.

Nationwide police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that 36 individuals died whereas 71 others sustained numerous accidents.

“Thirty-six individuals died on the spot when a St Charles Lwanga Excessive Faculty bus carrying Masvingo-bound ZCC church members was concerned in an accident alongside Chipinge-Chimanimani highway, 5km earlier than Jopa turn-off. Those that had been critically injured had been taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital (in Mutare) and others had been admitted at Chipinge District Hospital. “The deceased had been ferried to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital mortuary,” stated Asst Comm Nyathi.

Nonetheless, the driving force, Mhlanganisi Khumalo, who’s employed elsewhere and is on a part-time job at St Charles Lwanga Excessive Faculty, blamed lack of satisfactory signage alongside the highway for the accident.

Khumalo, who was truly on his third journey with the bus, stated he thought he would get to a unique terrain after the steep gradient, solely to helplessly watch because the bus veered off the highway after shedding brakes.

“I misplaced brakes alongside the curves to the extent that I attempted to go previous the curve pondering that I might discover higher terrain in order that I might cut back pace solely to search out out that we had been nonetheless on a steep gradient.

“There was no roadside signage at that exact level. I couldn’t management the bus and after it misplaced brakes, it was travelling at an excessive pace. I failed to use brakes. It was extra of a shock to me as a result of we had been touring nicely all alongside. In spite of everything, this was a second journey heading for a similar vacation spot. I went to Masvingo final week, similar route so I used to be assured as a result of the bus was in good situation,” he stated.

In a separate hospital bedside interview, the driving force’s assistant, Harmless Chabara, who has 15 years’ expertise in that capability stated: “Sure, the bus was travelling at a excessive pace when the accident occurred. I instantly noticed the driving force combating the brakes and the subsequent factor we had been flying down the mountainside.

“This was his (driver)’s third journey with the bus. On this route, it was his second journey. We used the identical route final week whereas driving AFM youths who had been travelling to Masvingo,” stated Chabara, who was battling to provide coherent speech owing to ache.

Josphar Nechiora of Sazunza Village, subsequent to Chiutani Village the place the accident occurred, one of many earliest individuals to reach on the accident scene, stated: “We began serving to kids after which the elders. We completed round 4am with the rescue mission. We had help from Headman Chonai, MP Joshua Sacco and the Wattle Firm and different nicely wishers. It was actually unhappy. We carried the injured and the lifeless uphill in order that they might be ferried to Chipinge District Hospital,” he stated.

Officer Commanding Manicaland Police Commissioner Priscilla Makotose, stated: “We’re saddened by the occasions right here in Chief Muusha’s space. It is a loss to Zimbabwe. The unhappy factor is that they had been going to church for Easter at their Mbungo Shrine. As police, we had been notified round 2300hrs and we swiftly reacted. We spent the entire evening right here and we’re grateful for the help we acquired from a number of stakeholders. The deceased can be accommodated at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.

“We urge motorists to journey an minimal pace as a result of rushing dangers lives. We additionally urge them to make use of roadworthy autos. In the identical breadth, we additionally urge transporters to keep away from overloading,” she stated.

The injured are admitted at Chipinge District Hospital whereas these in important situation have been transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.
Chipinge District Medical Officer Dr Brian Makumbe stated transferring the our bodies to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital was executed for logistical causes.

“We didn’t need a scenario whereby the bereaved would come to Chipinge to assert the physique of their deceased relative and discover out that it has been moved to Mutare. “So we thought our bodies must be collected from one level. In any case, Chipinge District Hospital accommodates 16 our bodies,” he stated.

Mr Albert Mapunga, senior trainer St Charles Lwanga, stated: “The bus crew comprising the driving force and assistant, got here to gather blankets round 8:20pm they usually went away. The subsequent factor was a cellphone name from Chabara informing me that the bus was concerned an accident,” he stated.

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