TWENTY-FOUR people were burnt to death while six others sustained serious injuries yesterday morning after a T35 truck they were travelling in collided with a Green Fuel tanker along the Tanganda–Chiredzi Highway near Checheche business centre in Chipinge South.
Police in Manicaland confirmed the horrific accident, but declined to give further details, referring all questions to national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, whose phone went unanswered until the time of going to print last night.
It is believed the driver of the T35 truck lost control of the vehicle and collided with a tanker laden with 40 000 litres of ethanol destined for Harare.
According to police, some of the deceased were in the T35 truck which was carrying a corpse from Chegutu. The accident reportedly happened as the mourners were just a few kilometres from their destination, Muyambo homestead in Mazvire village, Chief Musikavanhu area.
Eyewitnesses said the tanker burst in flames after the collision and burnt all the people in the T35 truck including the corpse. Both vehicles veered off the road killing some of the mourners in the process. The death toll increased after the tanker exploded.
It is believed 20 people perished on the spot while four others died while being taken to Chipinge General Hospital.
Wonder Manono, a relative to the deceased, said the truck was carrying the corpse of Clifford Muyambo from Chegutu, but had other mourners from Harare.
He said a gloomy atmosphere engulfed mourners waiting for the arrival of Clifford Muyambo’s body in Mazvire village when news of the accident reached them.
“We were waiting for the arrival of the body when we received a phone call about this accident,” Manono said.
“Mourners could not stomach the horrible news and some of them fainted. This is just too much for the family. It’s going to be very difficult for the survivors and the relatives to come to terms with what happened today,” added Manono.
Mathius Popi, a villager who lives near the scene of the accident said:
“I heard the booming sound twice and I left what I was doing to go and investigate. At the scene I saw many dead bodies lying beside the road with a few others still breathing, but with multiple injuries. Had it been that they were assisted in time, maybe the number of those who died could have been reduced,” Popi said.