TEN people died yesterday morning when the driver of a commuter omnibus they were travelling in lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a tree near Chitungwiza’s Chinhamo shopping centre along Seke Road.
WINSTONE ANTONIO/LIZZY KUTYAURIPO
Seven died on the spot while three died on admission at Chitungwiza and Parirenyatwa hospitals.
Members of the public and police officers battled for more than 30 minutes to retrieve the injured passengers from the wreckage while they waited for the Fire Brigade to extricate bodies from the mangled vehicle.
Police said the Zengeza-bound vehicle had 11 passengers on board.
Although the cause of the accident remained sketchy with witnesses saying the commuter omnibus veered off the road after the driver attempted to overtake another vehicle, while police said preliminary indications pointed to speeding.
Police Officer Commanding National Traffic Operations, Assistant Commissioner Shelton Dube, said the accident was caused by human error.
“It would appear the driver was speeding. He tried to overtake another vehicle and he lost control of the minibus and veered off the road hitting a tree killing seven people on the spot,” he said.
“This accident could have been avoided, but people do not observe the rules of the road especially commuter omnibus drivers,” Dube said, adding that police were facing challenges in identifying the deceased as most of them did not have identification documents.
“Some of the passengers had no identity particulars and as police, we are urging people to carry their particulars when travelling for easy identification in the event of an accident,” he said.
An eyewitness Costa Hodzi said the commuter omnibus driver lost control after he was alerted of the presence of police officers a short distance from the scene of the accident.
“The commuter omnibus driver was speeding and when he was alerted about the speed trap that the police had set just ahead, he tried to reduce the speed and it seems that he panicked resulting in him losing control of the vehicle before hitting the tree,” he said.
According to some rank marshals who were at the scene of the accident, the deceased driver was known for speeding and had earlier on been issued with a police ticket for speeding.
“The commuter omnibus driver was not experienced.
“He only started driving about six months ago after he graduated from being a conductor,” another marshal said.
Meanwhile, police said the names of the deceased will only be released after their next of kin have been informed.