Cletus Mushanawani in MUTARE—
FIFTEEN people were confirmed dead last night while 15 others were injured when two vehicles collided head-on along Mutare-Chimanimani Road. Of the deceased, 12 died on the spot while three others succumbed to their injuries at Mutare General Hospital. The accident occurred about 15km outside Mutare after sunset when a Toyota Regius, which was travelling from Mutare, had a tyre burst resulting in the driver losing control.
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The vehicle veered off the road resulting in a head-on collision with the Nissan Caravan which was on its way from Bezel Bridge in Marange. Manicaland provincial administrator and chairman of the Civil Protection Unit Mr Fungai Mbetsa confirmed the accident, saying they were rushing to the scene to get first-hand information on what happened.
“We have just received a report that there was an accident that happened along Mutare-Chimanimani Road this (yesterday) evening involving two passenger vehicles. Details of what transpired are still sketchy, but we are already activating all the systems.
“It is sad to lose lives in such a tragedy. We will give more details when we gather what really transpired,” he said. When our Mutare Bureau arrived at the accident scene, 12 bodies had been recovered while rescue efforts were underway.
Bodies were strewn around nearby bushes and it was not clear how many people were aboard the vehicles. Members of the Mutare Fire Brigade, the police, passersby and villagers were searching for bodies around.
The deceased were ferried to Mutare Provincial Hospital. A witness said: “The Toyota Regius vehicle which was travelling from Mutare had a tyre burst and veered off the road. It encroached onto the lane of the Mutare-bound Nissan Caravan resulting in the head-on collision. We are not sure if there are any survivors.
“It appears as if the two vehicles were speeding because the impact was just too much. We heard a loud bang and when we arrived here, bodies were strewn all over the place. It is a sorry sight as you can see. I believe there are more bodies in the bushes.
“There is no one from the two vehicles to tell us what really happened. The only person who was writhing in agony is now silent and we believe he is dead now.” Added Mr Mbetsa: “As the Civil Protection Unit, we will recommend that this accident be declared a national disaster and see what form of assistance the bereaved families can get. I will be getting in touch with the national office on the way forward.
“We want to urge motorists, especially those who carry passengers, to be extremely cautious on the roads to avoid these tragedies.”