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Accident blamed on driver fatigue

by Staff reporter
28 Apr 2017 at 10:26hrs | Views
The big tree into which the Inter Africa bus crashed into near Shamu Business Centre killing five people on the spot. - (Pictures by Tinai Nyadzayo)
The accident of the Mutare-bound Inter Africa bus, which veered off the road and hit a huge tree at a lay-by near Odzi, killing five people in the process, has been blamed on driver fatigue.

The tragic accident occurred in the wee hours of Wednesday just after Shamu Business Centre along the Harare-Mutare Highway. Several other passengers escaped the tragedy unhurt.

The bus had 48 passengers on board.

Officer Commanding Police in Manicaland, Senior Assistant Commissioner Isaac Tayengwa who visited the accident scene blamed the accident on possible fatigue. He could not disclose the names of the deceased persons as their families had not been advised, except Lawson Hokonya, who was positively identified by his two sisters, who rushed to the scene as news of the accident spread.

The injured were rushed by ambulances to Mutare Provincial Hospital and Rusape General Hospital. Those taken to Mutare Provincial Hospital were the serious ones, having sustained head, facial and eye injuries.

The chairperson of the civil protection unit, and Manicaland Provincial Administrator Mr Edgar Seenza yesterday told Diamond FM that two of the survivors had been referred for further managed care after their eyes were gouged during the accident.

Authorities at the provincial referral hospital have since recommended that the victims undergo optical surgery to remove glass debris lodged in their eyes.

Others sustained broken hands, legs and ribs.

"The bus was travelling to Mutare from Bulawayo, and 100m after Shamu Business Centre, it encroached onto the extreme of the opposite right lane, where it hit a huge Muonde Tree and swerved to its lane, where it eventually stopped after a distance of about 100m away. As a result, five people died on the spot and nine others were rushed to Mutare Provincial Hospital and Rusape General Hospital. We do not know if the driver was tired or not," said Sr Asst Com Tayengwa.

"Police encourage drivers of long distance public transport to take adequate rest before embarking on the journey, and in this case, there is an element of fatigue. Drivers should also exercise extreme caution and avoid speeding on the road to avoid loss of lives," he said.

One of the survivors, Rodwell Wemba, said the bus left Bulawayo around 8pm on Tuesday.

The Shamu accident occurred around 3am.

"The driver pulled off and took a nap at Nyazura and between Nyazura and Shamu, the speed was safe. I only heard a loud bang as the bus hit the tree by its right side. I was seated on the left side and was the third person to disembark. At first we thought no one was injured, and it was only when we looked at the wrecked right side of the bus that we noticed a human hand hanging in the wreckage.

"We got back into the bus and realised that some passengers had been trapped. There could be an element of fatigue, but the bus was not speeding. I am relieved to be alive because when we were still in Bulawayo, I had occupied a seat that someone had booked, and was told to look for an empty one. Unfortunately the guy who asked me to leave that seat was among those who died in the accident, and I wonder what my fate would have been if I had insisted on occupying that seat," said Rodwell.

The response from police, the fire brigade and ambulance services was swift, leading to the expeditious retrieval of trapped bodies and ferrying injured victims to hospital. One of the late Lawson Hokonya's sisters, who refused to be named, described Wednesday as a black day for their family.

"It is a tragedy. Lawson was coming to Mutare from Bulawayo. He is our brother and we lost him in this accident and it is unbelievable that what was meant to be a family reunion turned into a black day. We are shocked that things have turned this way. We do not know where from. It is painful," she said, with tears of pain welling down her cheeks.

Source - manicapost