THREE people died and one of them was burnt beyond recognition in a horrific accident involving three haulage trucks at the 82km peg along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road in Insuza.
The accident occurred on Saturday at about 7PM and by 8PM last night, the road was still closed to traffic and there were fears that a gas tanker that was involved in the accident could explode.
Vehicles were using a detour through the bush and the Bulawayo Fire Brigade erected no smoking signs around the accident scene as gas was still leaking from a tanker that was involved in the accident.
One of the trucks that was involved in the accident was travelling from Zambia to Bulawayo while the other two were travelling from Bulawayo headed for Zambia.
One of the trucks had two people on board while the other two had one person each. The only surviving accident victim was admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital and his legs were crushed.
When The Chronicle arrived at the accident scene yesterday at around 2PM, the remains of one of the accident victims could be seen underneath the shell of a truck belonging to Crown Africa Logistics.
One of the trucks that was involved in the accident had Zambian registration numbers and was transporting 17 000kg of LPG gas to the neighbouring country.
There was a traffic jam as some vehicles, including buses, bogged in the sand at the accident scene.
Motorists, passengers and villagers had to help each other to push the vehicles and clear the jam.
Bulawayo Fire Brigade divisional officer Mr Danmore Chimbadzwa, who was at the accident scene, said three people died while one sustained serious injuries.
He said it was suspected that the truck from Zambia sideswiped with the first truck coming from Bulawayo before colliding head on with the second one, which was also coming from Bulawayo.
The accident sparked a fire that burnt one of the drivers beyond recognition.
“The accident occurred at about 7PM and the Fire Brigade arrived at the scene at about 9PM. One person survived but he was critically injured. He was crushed from the abdomen downwards and he was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital. Two bodies were found at the scene and they were taken to the mortuary.
“We later received information from one of the truck owners that there could be another body because one of their workers was missing. This prompted us to search thoroughly and we saw burnt bones under the shell of one of the trucks,” said Mr Chimbadzwa.
“We’re waiting for a heavy duty recovery truck to come and retrieve the bones from underneath the shell of the truck.
“We also need to clear this gas tank before we can open the road to motorists because it’s dangerous. The owners of the truck said they’re bringing another tanker so that they decant the gas”.
A villager from the area, Mr Sineni Mathe, who lives about 2km from the accident scene, said they heard a loud noise at about 7PM before they saw a ball of fire from a distance.
“We heard a loud noise which sounded like explosives that are used in mines. We then saw fire and we knew something terrible had happened. Unfortunately no one was brave enough to come because there are hyenas around this area,” said Mr Mathe.
Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless last night. chronicle