Friday, 24 January 2020

RUDE BUS DRIVER TO BLAME : SURVIVORS


PASSENGERS on the General Bande bus had pleaded with the driver to slow down along the way from Harare to Mutare before Saturday’s horror crash, which has since claimed 16 lives.

Fourteen people died on the spot when the bus collided with a haulage truck on Saturday around 1700 hours while two more died upon admission at Mutare Provincial Hospital.

Out of the 40 injured persons that were taken to the hospital soon after the accident, 12 were still admitted at the hospital on Wednesday with one of them still in the intensive care unit.

Survivors of the accident who are still recovering at Mutare Provincial Hospital said the bus was speeding and their pleas for the driver to slow down fell on deaf ears.

Barrister Mayengamhuru, who lives in Gweru and boarded the General Bande bus at Fourth Street rank in Harare said: “What happened is when we approached a curve along the road around Shamu village the bus was travelling at an excessive speed and the surface was bumpy. The bus spun out of control and then swerved to the left.

“The bus driver at first tried to bring it back on lane but failed as it swerved again and slewed across the road resulting in the oncoming haulage truck ramming straight into the bus. In fact, the haulage truck driver tried to avoid hitting the bus but the distance was so close that he could not. The bus was left facing the Harare direction where we were coming from.”

Mayengamhuru, who sustained chest and head injuries, kept reiterating that the driver was speeding and lost control of the bus at a curve.

The driver of the haulage truck, Raphael Chitashara, who survived the accident, told this newspaper from his hospital bed that he tried to avoid hitting the bus but it was too late. 

“The way I saw it is that the bus was speeding and as it approached this bumpy surface, the driver applied emergency breaks resulting in the bus swerving and he failed to control it. That is why it then closed the two lanes across the road and I was left to hit straight into the bus,” he said.

Chido Musarurwa, who also boarded the bus at Fourth Street in Harare and has since been discharged at Mutare Provincial Hospital, said several pleas were made to the driver to reduce speed but somehow he couldn’t listen.

“On about five or six occasions people warned the driver against speeding but somehow he kept on travelling at an excessive speed. It appeared to me that the passengers had resigned to fate and also hoping that maybe they would arrive safely since we were into the last 60 kilometres of the journey,” she said.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi also said they gathered that the driver was initially warned against travelling at an excessive speed.

“We have also gathered that the bus driver had been warned against speeding prior to the accident but he did not take heed. It is unfortunate that we continue losing lives unnecessarily. We strongly warn motorists against speeding for their own safety and the safety of other road users,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.

Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba and the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Cde Joel Biggie Matiza separately visited the injured at Mutare Provincial General Hospital. Manica Post
  

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