Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
AT least 10 people died while several others were seriously injured when two buses they were travelling on collided head-on at the 232km peg between Kwekwe and Gweru yesterday.
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Larry Mavima confirmed the accident which occurred around 4.30AM when a Gokwe-bound cross-border bus Mandeep, crashed into a Govasberg coach which was going towards Gweru.
On approaching the 232km peg, the Mandeep driver is suspected to have dozed off and lost control of the bus which encroached into the right lane resulting in the head-on collision.
Minister Mavima said 10 people died on the spot.
“I can confirm that 10 people died in an accident when two buses collided head-on between Kwekwe and Gweru. It is suspected that the driver of the bus which was coming from South Africa going to Gokwe slept and the bus veered to the right while there was an oncoming bus going towards Gweru resulting in the collision.
“Police are still gathering facts and we are yet to ascertain the actual number of people that were aboard each bus as most of them were rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital. We are also yet to assess the condition of those that have been hospitalised,” he said.
The deceased were taken to Kwekwe General Hospital mortuary.
Minister Mavima said the province has approached the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo with a suggestion to declare the accident a national disaster.
“We have informed Minister Moyo who is in charge of the Civil Protection Unit to declare the accident a national disaster. Their families will get assistance. It is unfortunate that we lost lives this way. We would want to urge all drivers to value life and exercise caution. This accident was caused by human error and it could have been avoided,” he said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police will release the names of the victims once their next of kin are informed.
“I can confirm that there was an accident this morning at the 232km peg along the Harare-Bulawayo highway. We are still to find out the actual number of passengers that were on the buses.
“One bus was coming from South Africa and the other one was going towards Gweru. The names of the victims will be released once their families are informed,” he said.