Sixty two in burning bus. . . ‘Ball of fire’ at 5AM on Harare-bound cross-border coach

By Thupeyo Muleya

Sixty-two people cheated death yesterday when a Citiliner cross-border bus they were travelling in caught fire about 40 km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Road yesterday morning.

The Citiliner bus burns near the 40 km peg along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Road yesterday morning

Miraculously, none of the passengers were injured in the incident that occurred around 5AM.

Although some passengers alleged they lost luggage in the inferno, a spokesperson for Greyhound bus company that runs Citiliner said all the luggage was saved.

Matabeleland South Police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Loveness Mangena said the bus was travelling from Johannesburg in South Africa heading to Harare.

“There were 62 passengers on board. When the bus reached the 246,5 km peg along the Masvingo Beitbridge road, one passenger, who was sitting at the back noticed some smoke coming from the rear side of the bus.

“He alerted the driver who stopped the bus and evacuated all the passengers and part of the goods from the bus and trailer, ”she said.

She said the bus suddenly burst into a ball of fire, before the passengers could offload all the goods.

Assistant Inspector Mangena said property worth hundreds of dollars was destroyed in the fire.

She said no-one was injured although the bus and the trailer were extensively damaged.

“The cause of the fire is still under investigations,” said Assistant Inspector Mangena.

Recently eight people were killed when a South African registered Toyota Quantum they were travelling in collided with a haulage truck 10km along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road, near Naude area.

Greyhound representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Thomas Rumhaka, yesterday said the bus was a write off.

“We managed to save all the luggage and called another bus to ferry the passengers to Harare. Everyone is safe, some people may want to take advantage and say they lost their luggage in the fire. However, as far as I’m concerned, everything was removed from the bus,” said Mr Rumhaka from the accident scene.

He said the company was still working on establishing the cause of the fire.