TEN people died, eight of them believed to be members of the same family, while 14 others were injured when a Toyota Hiace collided head on with a Mitsubishi Colt at the 303km peg along the Harare-Bulawayo highway near Shangani yesterday morning. National Police Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the accident which occurred atabout 6am near Vungu River when a Bulawayo- bound Mitsubishi Colt with six people on board collided head on with a Harare bound Toyota Hiace carrying 18 people.
Chief Sup Nyathi said on approaching the 303km peg the Toyota Hiace had a left tyre burst and encroached onto the right lane ahead of an oncoming Mitsubishi Colt. He said eight people died on the spot while two others died upon admission to Gweru Provincial Hospital.
“I can confirm that 10 people died in an accident while 14 people were injured when a Toyota Hiace which was travelling towards Gweru collided head on with a Mitsubishi Colt which was Bulawayo-bound. On approaching the 303km peg the Toyota Hiace had a left tyre burst and encroached onto the right lane ahead of an oncoming Mitsubishi Colt. Eight people died on the spot, three from the Mitsubishi Colt, while two others died upon admission to Gweru Provincial Hospital,” he said.
Chief Sup Nyathi said the bodies of the victims were taken to Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary awaiting post-mortem while the injured passengers were taken to the same hospital for treatment. He said the names of the deceased will be released once their next of kin have been informed.
We appeal to motorists to ensure that their tyres are in condition before they embark on long distance journeys. They should also ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and they should abide by road speed limits to avoid accidents,” he said.
Gweru Provincial Hospital medical superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze also confirmed that the 10 bodies were taken to the hospital mortuary awaiting post-mortem while the 14 injured were still receiving treatment. He said five sustained severe injuries and one was critical.
“We received eight bodies from the scene and two died upon admission to the hospital. One patient is critical while four sustained severe injuries and nine have moderate injuries. The 14 injured passengers are still receiving treatment at Gweru Provincial Hospital,” he said.
According to a witness, Mr Dumisani Nkomo, the Toyota Hiace burst a tyre resulting in the driver losing control and encroaching onto the right lane resulting in the head on collision. “We then rushed to the scene and helped other injured passengers to get out of the vehicle and were ferried to hospital by other motorists,” he said.
The accident comes barely a month after 30 people including three minors died when a Pfochez bus burst a tyre before sideswiping a Mercedes Benz Sprinter along the same road near Kwekwe last month. The accident happened at the 232km peg.
In August last year, seven people were killed in a horrific head-on collision which occurred about 20km from Kwekwe along the Kwekwe-Gweru highway. A Honda Fit which was travelling towards Gweru collided head-on with a Mazda B2200 that was transporting security guards.