By Staff Reporter
POLICE suspect a gas tank explosion caused the inferno which engulfed a bus travelling to South Africa Thursday night, killing 42 passengers.
The deceased were burnt beyond recognition when the Brooklyn Express coach caught fire near West Nicholson in Matebeleland South Province while some 26 escaped with injuries.
“It is suspected that there was a gas tank on the bus that caused an explosion and it caught fire,” said ZRP spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.
“The driver veered off the road to the left side and then stopped. The whole bus was immediately engulfed in fire.”
The remains of the deceased were taken to Gwanda Provincial Hospital mortuary for post-mortem, while the injured were receiving treatment at the same hospital.
“Members of the public are urged not to transport flammable materials or explosives when travelling,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“Meanwhile, police have launched full-scale investigations into this unfortunate incident.”
The accident comes barely a week after another bus crash in Rusape which claimed 46 lives, leaving several others injured.
In his condolence message following the latest road traffic accident, President Emmerson Mnangagwa demanded action to prevent the loss of life.
“I urge the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to use the two accidents which have occurred hard on the heels of each other to take appropriate measures which comprehensively deal with this growing menace on our roads,” he said.
“What is heart-rendering about this latest accident is that combustible material was allowed onto the bus, thus causing a conflagration which entrapped, scalded and consumed innocent passengers,” he said.
“What a painful experience and death!”
Acting transport minister Aamon Murwira urged passenger transport drivers to exercise caution on the roads.
“I repeat my appeal, to all drivers of passenger service vehicles to exercise caution when driving on our roads,” said Prof Murwira.
“Have respect for human lives, drive with due care and observe all regulations pertaining road use.”
His local government counterpart July Moyo added the State would provide assistance to the victims of the accident and their families.