25 perish in Serenje horror


TWENTY-FIVE people died yesterday when a Kitwe-bound Marcopolo bus belonging to Power Tools bus services coming from Nakonde veered off the road and overturned, after the driver failed to negotiate a curve due to excessive speeding.

And a wayward truck plunged into a rescue team of RTSA, police and Fire Brigade at the accident scene, killing three officers on the spot.

Central Province Commissioner of Police Lombe Kamukoshi and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) spokesperson Frederick Mubanga confirmed the accident and named the driver of the bus as Barron Chibwe, aged 39 years.

Ms Kamukoshi told the Daily Nation that 22 people died while 48 passengers sustained injuries in an accident involving the Power Tools Scania bus coming from Nakonde, heading to Kitwe with 70 passengers on board.

Ms Kamukoshi explained that in a separate accident but at the same scene, three officers, one from RTSA identified as David Manjulunji and two from the Fire Brigade identified as Ernest Mulenga and Mubita Simasiku, who were among the officers conducting a rescue operation at the scene of the accident, died on the spot while six police officers sustained injuries after they were hit by a truck laden with bags of maize which failed to stop as it approached the accident scene.

Ms. Kamukoshi said that the accident occurred at Malekani area, 2 kilometres from Serenje turn-off. The three officers died on the spot.

“The accident occurred when the driver failed to negotiate the curve due to excessive speed. Thirty-nine passengers sustained minor to serious injuries, three died, two males and one lady, while some are trapped,’’ she said.

Eleven bodies of the deceased have been transported to Kabwe General Hospital mortuary, 12 are in Serenje General Hospital mortuary, one body has been identified and picked by relatives while the body of Mr Manjulunji has been transported to University Teaching Hospital mortuary in Lusaka.

‘‘Investigations have been instituted to bring to book the driver of the truck who is currently on the run. We are yet to propose to Government to ban public transport vehicles from moving at night so as to avoid such accidents,’’ she said.

Meanwhile Acting President Inonge Wina has expressed shock and sadness over the accident and expressed her deepest condolences to the bereaved families.

Ms Wina said the frequency of road fatalities on Zambian roads was causing a deep concern to government and solutions should be found quickly to curb the trend.