Tuesday, 8 October 2019

THIS WILL HAUNT ME FOREVER : BUS CRASH SURVIVORS

Survivors of the Gweru-Kwekwe bus accident which killed 12 people yesterday told harrowing stories on how they cheated death in the disaster.

Ten people were killed on the spot, while 43 were injured when a Gokwe-bound cross-border bus, Mandeep Tours collided head-on with a Govasberg bus near Kwekwe River along the Gweru-Kwekwe highway on Sunday morning. Two more died on admission to hospital.

On Monday, a Chronicle news crew visited some of the survivors at Kwekwe District Hospital who narrated their terrifying experiences.

Mr Tsaurayi Mativenga who runs a grocery business at Nembudziya, Gokwe and was travelling from Beitbridge said he had taken a nap when he was awakened by an ear-splitting crash that was followed by loud shrieks and yells.

“I tried to raise my head to see what had happened but I realised that I was trapped between some iron bars somewhere under the seats. As the screams of pain and anguish reached a crescendo, I could not help but join and screamed hoping my screams were louder than everyone else to warrant immediate help,” recollected Mr Mativenga.

He said the accident occurred at around 4.30am and he only remembers finding his way out of the wreckage of the Mandeep bus at around 5 am.

“It was still dark. I had a real tormenting experience, trying to rescue myself from being trapped under the seats to picking myself up from the blood drenched bus floor and finally out of the bus,” he said. 

Mr Mativenga who sustained a deep cut on the left eye, lips and a broken limb said he managed to get out of the bus alone but later fell to the ground on realising he had dislocated a hip.

He said fatigue on the part of their driver could have been the major cause of the accident.

“We had some incidents before the accident when we complained as passengers that the driver was swerving and sleeping while behind the wheel.

“It then happened that he slept and encroached into the path of oncoming traffic resulting in the head-on,” he said.

Another survivor, Ms Sandra Sibanda who was in the Govasberg Bus said it was by God’s grace that she survived to tell the story.

“I had just boarded the Govasberg bus in Kwekwe when the accident occurred in less than 30 km of my journey. It happened within a twinkle of an eye. 

“On impact, I flew from the back seat and was thrown on top of people. I could see some people I fell on had died and it was really a nightmarish experience,” she said.

Mr Last Gurinde who was also in the Govasberg bus said he saw some people breathing their last.

He said he got out of the bus through the window and witnessed among other deaths, the painful death of a pregnant woman and the two bus drivers.

“This will haunt me for ever. I watched helplessly as a pregnant woman approximately in her eighth or ninth month, frothing and dying in anguish. The two drivers were also trapped for nearly an hour until they died. The fire brigade arrived approximately an hour after the accident maybe because it was still at dusk when the accident occurred,” he said. Chronicle

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