UPDATED: Dema horror crash claims 8
Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
A commuter omnibus killed eight passengers and injured three others after it rammed a haulage truck in Dema yesterday morning.
The kombi was on its way from Hwedza to Harare.
The police traffic coordinator for Mashonaland East Province Superintendent Richard Gatsi confirmed the accident in an interview with The Herald.
He said a 30-tonne truck broke down at midnight and was parked on the road close to Dema Police Station.
“Around 5.50am, a kombi travelling from Hwedza to Harare carrying 11 passengers rammed into the haulage truck’s trailer, killing six people on the spot,” he said.
“The injured passengers were taken to Kunaka Hospital here in Dema where two died on admission.
“The other three were transferred to Chitungwiza Hospital. The deceased will be taken to Marondera Hospital mortuary.”
The deceased’s names were not immediately released.
Supt Gatsi urged people with relatives who were travelling from Hwedza to Harare yesterday morning to visit Marondera Hospital mortuary for identification of the deceased.
He called on drivers to take precautionary measures when their vehicles broke down to ensure safe usage of the road by other motorists.
“We are urging drivers to park their vehicles where it is safe immediately when their vehicles develop a problem,” he said.
The truck’s driver Mr Manyoni Mbeve said he spent the night controlling traffic.
“The moment I had a breakdown I placed red triangles both in the front and at the back of the truck,” he said.
“I spent the night controlling traffic. However, when it was almost close to 6am I decided to go and rest in the truck since the skies were now clear.
“Just after a moment, I heard the impact of the kombi after it rammed into the truck trailer. I suspect the kombi driver was speeding because besides triangles, I had also placed some tree branches from a distance, but the driver did not take heed of all these signals.”
Chief Seke, Mr Stanley Chimanikire, said it was sad human life had been lost.
“Losing human life is a painful experience,” he said.
“This road is too narrow for the haulage trucks. They must find a way of reducing or stopping these trucks from using this road.
“At the same time, kombi drivers are to blame for their recklessness. Usually they will be speeding and they forget that they will be carrying people. That is very annoying.”
Chief Seke also blamed the police.
“You find that sometimes these kombis just pass the roadblocks without them checking on the vehicle,” he said. “At times the drivers pay fines even before the police officers checked their vehicles.”
Recently, a King Lion bus killed 43 passengers along the Harare-Chirundu Road, and preliminary investigations attributed the accident to speeding and a burst tyre.