3 die, 35 injured in bus crash
Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter—
THREE people died on the spot, while 35 others sustained varying degrees of injuries when a Bravo bus veered off the road and landed on its side near Halfway Lodge along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road yesterday.The bus crew scrapped off the name and logo of the bus and covered it with a sail as it was being towed to Bulawayo in the morning, apparently to conceal its identity.
Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said investigations were underway to establish the cause of the accident with initial findings indicating that the driver lost control after the bus developed a mechanical fault.
“I can confirm that three people died on the spot while others were injured when a Bravo Tours bus was involved in an accident at 1:30am,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“It looks like there was a mechanical fault as the driver heard some noise resulting in the bus veering to the left where it slid on its side and killed three people on the spot. Fifteen were seriously injured while 20 are stable.”
One of the deceased is a senior boat captain (name withheld) with a leading tour operating company in Victoria Falls.
The bus was travelling from Victoria Falls to Harare with about 45 passengers.
Sources said the crew had earlier on spoken about a loose bar under the bus but ignored it saying it would be fixed in Bulawayo.
When it got to Halfway, sources said, the bus hit a pothole resulting in the driver losing control.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said police were concerned about motorists and bus operators allowing their vehicles to travel at night as that put people’s lives at risk.
“People should avoid driving at night as it’s very dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk. We are concerned about bus owners who allow buses to travel at night. We are investigating and we want to urge drivers to make sure their vehicles are in good condition and avoid driving them when in doubt,” she said.
“There are some dangers at night like reduced visibility, drunken driving by some motorists who may encroach onto the lane of oncoming traffic while there are also potholes as well as animals that are difficult to see,” she said.
The police spokesperson said reaction times for police and other stakeholders was slower when an accident happened at night compared to during the day, thereby increasing chances of fatalities.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said obscuring the identity of a bus involved in accident was a sign of irresponsibility.
Mr Raymond Mudondisvika, who was treated and discharged at St Luke’s Hospital, said: “The driver said something broke from under the bus and suddenly it started swerving from side to side. Five ambulances and some private trucks rushed the injured in the morning to St Luke’s Hospital.”
Some were treated at Fatima Clinic while the critically injured were transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital.
Incoming Lupane District Administrator Mrs Ennety Sithole, who chairs the District Civil Protection Unit, said a team from the unit visited the scene of the accident to assess the situation.
A woman who answered the Bravo phone in the evening said: “What comment do you want when you have already published online? Call tomorrow, people have knocked off.”