NINE people died when a Zupco bus rammed into a stationery haulage truck near Gweru yesterday.
Police said seven people died on the spot while two others were pronounced dead on admission to hospital.
Eighteen other passengers were injured in the accident that occurred around 5:30am near Connemara Open Prison.
The crash brings to 20 the number of people killed in accidents that occurred in the region this week.
Police said the truck which was on its way from Harare developed a mechanical fault while the bus was heading towards Gweru en-route to Chipinge.
The lorry was carrying about three tonnes of iron bars.
The Zupco bus had its left side ripped off.
Acting police officer commanding Midlands Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Learn Ncube, Midlands and Masvingo Traffic Co-ordinator Superintendent Leslie Maninge and provincial administrator Ms Cecilia Chitiyo attended the scene.
Witnesses said some of the passengers died after being pierced by iron bars.
The bus driver Mr Patrick Nyemba (62) said he could not see the stationary truck because of mist.
“Owing to the impact of the lorry’s load, iron bars pierced through the bus injuring the passengers in the process,” said Mr Nyemba.
He said some of the bars pierced passengers’ abdomens.
Mr Nyemba and some passengers survived without injuries.
He said ambulances arrived about 20 minutes later.
“Some ambulances from Kwekwe later arrived at the scene and ferried some of the injured to Kwekwe District Hospital.”
Supt Maninge said some of the injured were ferried to Kwekwe District Hospital while others were rushed to Gweru Provincial Hospital.
“We are still to verify the number of people admitted at hospitals,” he said.
Supt Maninge said preliminary investigations indicate that the driver of the bus was speeding.
“We have our accident evaluator at the scene and we are still waiting for his findings. We cannot, however, rule out speeding on the part of the bus driver because there were some triangle reflectors indicating that there was a stationary vehicle in front,” he said.
Meanwhile, Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Minister Nicholas Goche has sent a message of condolence to families that lost their loved ones in the accident.
He said it was disheartening that the accident occurred barely two days after the Phawulani Ndlovu minibus accident which claimed 13 lives.
He appealed to drivers to observe traffic regulations, saying most accidents were a result of negligence.
Political leaders and the business community in Insiza District assisted families of the 13 people who died in the Fort Rixon accident on Monday.
It emerged yesterday that the majority of the dead were workers and traders from Fort Rixon.
Three of the deceased were family members from Claremont. Senior Zanu-PF officials assisted with food and cash.
Insiza North legislator Cde Andrew Langa visited the four survivors who are admitted to United Bulawayo Hospitals’ intensive care unit.
He also donated coffins to four families.
Cde Langa was accompanied by Mrs Matilda Muhaso, the managing director of Apatron Mine in Fort Rixon, Insiza Senator Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, Acting Zanu-PF provincial chairman for Bulawayo Cde Killian Sibanda and members of the youth wing.
The four survivors are Ms Loveness Ncube (35), Ms Martha Ngwenya (30) whose addresses could not be readily established, Mr Wellington Maphosa and Never Msipha (22) of Claremont.
Police also identified the deceased as Likhwa Ndlovu (21) of York Farm in Fort Rixon, Ronald Mhlanga (29) of Pioneer Village 2, Thandiwe Mutete (29), of Entumbane, Polite Nyoni of Zvishavane and Nkululeko Sibanda and Ellen Chazerengwa, all of Woodborne, Fort Rixon.