16 die in Featherstone kombi accident
SIXTEEN (16) people have died in a traffic accident that occurred at the 89 kilometre peg along Harare-Masvingo road, near Wengezi Bridge in Featherstone.
The accident, which took place yesterday at 9.00am, involved a head on collision between a haulage truck and a commuter omnibus. All occupants of the kombi, including four children, the driver and conductor, died.
Earlier reports had put the death toll at 19 people but police said they later discovered that the other three passengers were in a critical condition.
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said 16 people died on the spot while three others died on admission to hospital.
He said investigations are underway.
“The haulage truck driver who was travelling from Harare claims that he was driving behind another commuter omnibus. He further alleged that the omnibus driver suddenly applied brakes resulting in him swerving to the right to avoid hitting it. This resulted in a head on collision with another kombi that was going in the opposite direction,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the kombi was dragged underneath the truck for a few metres before being plunged into the bridge resulting in 16 people, 12 adults and four juveniles, dying on the spot while seven others were seriously injured.
“So far the death toll stands at 16. Initially the other three passengers were feared dead but it has been figured out that they are currently in a critical condition,” he said.
The truck driver, who was travelling alone, escaped unhurt.
The police, Fire Brigade and ambulances from Harare attended the scene.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the Fire Brigade managed to retrieve some of the bodies that had been trapped in the wreckage.
“We are currently investigating the circumstances pertaining to the unfortunate road traffic accident,” he said.