Accidents claim 5 lives on New Year’s Day
A SOMBRE atmosphere engulfed greater Victoria Falls following the death of five people while 17 others were critically injured in two separate accidents that took place on New Year’s Day.
Police confirmed the accidents which resulted from head on collisions pointing to human error, with residents calling on authorities to act on behaviour of motorists during the Victoria Falls Carnival, which they blame for immorality such as drunkenness that also fuels reckless driving.
The first accident claimed the life of a journalism graduate from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Mr Carlos Khumalo who died on the spot when a vehicle which had five people on board collided with another vehicle near Cresta Sprayview Lodge around 3am on 1 January.
Just before 5am on the same day, a collision between a Toyota Wish and Toyota Avante claimed the lives of a 61-year-old woman, Mrs Angeline Sibanda and her daughter Lydia Sibanda (25) as well as an 81-year-old woman Mrs Elen Moyo who were driving to Monde from Victoria Falls where they had attended an all-night church service to celebrate New Year’s Day.
Eight members of the Victory Church all from Monde outside Victoria Falls town who were in the Toyota Wish, including Mrs Sibanda’s two other children are still admitted to hospital. The Toyota Avante was carrying four people coming from a beer drink at Lupinyu Night Club and one of them who police said is yet to be identified died on the spot.
Some were transferred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals while some are admitted to Victoria Falls Hospital.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “I can confirm that there were two accidents that killed five people in Victoria Falls. Preliminary investigations show that the drivers were attempting to overtake other vehicles,” he said.
A dark cloud hovered around Monde Village during the burial of Mrs Sibanda and her daughter who were buried side by side and Mrs Moyo who was buried at her homestead. Mr Khumalo was buried in Sidobe as the community turned out in numbers for the burials.
Speakers at all the burials called for urgent measures to end immorality.
“Drunk driving and presence of unlicensed drivers are a cause for concern on our roads. As residents and leaders we are disappointed and would want to meet police and organisers of the carnival so that some things are revisited. Besides drunkenness, there is also the issue of nudity which characterised the streets during the carnival. If bars have time to close why do we allow drunken people driving throughout the night?” said Hwange West Member of Parliament, Mr Godfrey Dube.
Speaking at one of the burials, Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somvelo Dlamini also condemned immoral behaviour and drunk driving exhibited by people who attend the carnival.