Big bang and fire­ball on Vic Falls High­way 3-TRUCK PILE UP KILLS 3

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pamela Shumba

THREE peo­ple died and one of them was burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion in a hor­rific ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing three haulage trucks at the 82km peg along the Bu­l­awayo-Victoria Falls Road in In­suza.

The ac­ci­dent oc­curred on Satur­day at about 7PM and by 8PM last night, the road was still closed to traf­fic and there were fears that a gas tanker that was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent could ex­plode.

Ve­hi­cles were us­ing a de­tour through the bush and the Bu­l­awayo Fire Bri­gade erected no smok­ing signs around the ac­ci­dent scene as gas was still leak­ing from a tanker that was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent.

One of the trucks that was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent was trav­el­ling from Zam­bia to Bu­l­awayo while the other two were trav­el­ling from Bu­l­awayo headed for Zam­bia.

One of the trucks had two peo­ple on board while the other two had one per­son each. The only sur­viv­ing ac­ci­dent vic­tim was ad­mit­ted to Mpilo Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal and his legs were crushed.

When The Chron­i­cle ar­rived at the ac­ci­dent scene yes­ter­day at around 2PM, the re­mains of one of the ac­ci­dent vic­tims could be seen un­der­neath the shell of a truck be­long­ing to Crown Africa Lo­gis­tics.

One of the trucks that was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent had Zam­bian reg­is­tra­tion num­bers and was trans­port­ing 17 000kg of LPG gas to the neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

There was a traf­fic jam as some ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing buses, bogged in the sand at the ac­ci­dent scene.

Mo­torists, pas­sen­gers and vil­lagers had to help each other to push the ve­hi­cles and clear the jam.

Bu­l­awayo Fire Bri­gade di­vi­sional of­fi­cer Mr Dan­more Chim­badzwa, who was at the ac­ci­dent scene, said three peo­ple died while one sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries.

He said it was sus­pected that the truck from Zam­bia sideswiped with the first truck com­ing from Bu­l­awayo be­fore col­lid­ing head on with the sec­ond one, which was also com­ing from Bu­l­awayo.

The ac­ci­dent sparked a fire that burnt one of the driv­ers be­yond recog­ni­tion.

“The ac­ci­dent oc­curred at about 7PM and the Fire Bri­gade ar­rived at the scene at about 9PM. One per­son sur­vived but he was crit­i­cally in­jured. He was crushed from the ab­domen down­wards and he was rushed to Mpilo Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal. Two bod­ies were found at the scene and they were taken to the mor­tu­ary.

“We later re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from one of the truck own­ers that there could be an­other body be­cause one of their work­ers was miss­ing. This prompted us to search thor­oughly and we saw burnt bones un­der the shell of one of the trucks,” said Mr Chim­badzwa.

“We’re wait­ing for a heavy duty re­cov­ery truck to come and re­trieve the bones from un­der­neath the shell of the truck.

“We also need to clear this gas tank be­fore we can open the road to mo­torists be­cause it’s dan­ger­ous. The own­ers of the truck said they’re bring­ing an­other tanker so that they de­cant the gas”.

A vil­lager from the area, Mr Si­neni Mathe, who lives about 2km from the ac­ci­dent scene, said they heard a loud noise at about 7PM be­fore they saw a ball of fire from a dis­tance. “We heard a loud noise which sounded like ex­plo­sives that are used in mines. We then saw fire and we knew some­thing ter­ri­ble had hap­pened. Un­for­tu­nately no one was brave enough to come be­cause there are hye­nas around this area,” said Mr Mathe.

Ef­forts to get a com­ment from the po­lice were fruit­less last night. — @pame­lashumba1

The wreck­ages of the trucks which col­lided along the Bu­l­awayo-Victoria Falls Road on Satur­day night

Pro­fes­sor Paul Mavhima

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