Wednesday, 13 January 2021

FOUR MISSING PASSENGERS : COPS CALL OFF SEARCH

Police have called off the search for four passengers who are suspected to have been on board an Isuzu double cab which was swept by floods at Gweru River Bridge on Sunday.

The development follows reports that no one has come forth claiming a missing relative, friend or workmate that could have been on board the vehicle.

The vehicle was pulled out of the river leading to the retrieval of two bodies, a driver and passenger who was seated at the back.

The Isuzu double cab was swept away by floods when the driver attempted to cross a flooded Gweru River just after Ascot suburb in Gweru on Sunday.

The driver was identified as Mr Tinashe Chiwawa, who was employed by Gweru City Council in the engineering department.

Mr Chiwawa was buried yesterday in Gweru. The other passenger is still to be identified. The vehicle was towing a mining compressor when the incident occurred.

An eyewitness told police that the vehicle had four males including the driver and two females on board.

The search teams from Sunday to Tuesday tried to look for the other said four bodies but the search was all in vain.

At the same time, it has been learnt that there is no one who has come to claim or report a missing person — a development that has led to the abandonment of the search.

In an interview yesterday, Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko confirmed the development.

“We have called off rescue operations aimed at retrieving the bodies of the said four passengers who were said to have been in the vehicle. No one has come forward to report a missing person, friend or relative,” he said.

Insp Mahoko said an eyewitness had told the police that he saw six people including the driver in the vehicle.

“Our informant said he was driving from the Gweru direction. On reaching the bridge he said he found the river flooded and stopped realising it was not safe to cross,” he said.

Insp Mahoko said the informant said after 20 minutes he saw the Isuzu double cab twin arriving and stopping before the bridge.

“He said the vehicle stopped and three male adults disembarked to assess the situation leaving three others in the vehicle, that is one male and two females,” he said.

Insp Goko said one of the passengers said it was safe as he had crossed the river with the same water level the previous day. He said they asked the driver of a vehicle that was in front to make way for them.

“They then drove to cross and the vehicle was swept away. So that was the information we were working with and the fact that no one has come forward to reports missing person, we have been forced to abandon the search. We could be searching for non-existent bodies,” said Insp Mahoko.

In December last year, three people were killed when a pirate taxi they were travelling in was swept away by a flooded river in Zvishavane.

The pirate taxi, a Toyota Noah, had 10 people on board, when the driver tried to cross Mutorahuku River near Kambasha Primary School. Chronicle

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