By Leonard Ncube
FORTY-FIVE passengers narrowly cheated death after a bus they were travelling in rolled back and fell on its side at Simangani River Bridge outside Hwange.
Witnesses said the bus hit the side pillars at the bridge and fell on its left side on the river bed after rolling back.
The passengers escaped with minor injuries and were taken to St Patrick’s and Hwange Colliery hospitals in Hwange where they were treated and discharged.
The incident happened on Friday night about 50km away from Hwange town along the Hwange-Deka-Binga road.
The Chronicle learnt that the Mayibongwe Bus Services vehicle was travelling from Kariangwe in Binga and bound for Victoria Falls via Hwange.
The driver, who was one of those who sustained injuries, allegedly failed to control the bus.
Bus owner Mr Lovemore Sibanda said 13 people were rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital while five were taken to St Patrick’s Hospital.
“We will only have finer details of what happened after police and Vehicle Inspection Department officers make an assessment tomorrow.
“When I got the news of the accident I sent a T 35 truck and coaster to rescue people while two ambulances were also dispatched from Hwange Colliery Hospital.
“Thirteen were taken to Hwange Colliery and only five were admitted while the other eight were treated and discharged. The five who had minor injuries including the driver were then discharged on Saturday morning.
“We, however, had a minor issue with five more who were not injured but were ferried by an ambulance from St Patrick’s where they were treated and discharged although initially we didn’t know there were some who had gone there,” said Mr Sibanda.
He said he provided alternative transport for all the affected passengers to complete their journeys.
“I personally apologised to all passengers and made sure they completed their journeys up to Victoria Falls after being attended to at the hospital.
“Right now we are just waiting for police and VID so that we get a determination on what happened before I can approach the insurance company to retrieve the bus,” Mr Sibanda said.
Acting Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Sergeant Namatirai Mashona, could not comment indicating that she had not been furnished with full details yesterday. The Chronicle