42 Killed As Zimbabwe Bus Catches Fire

File Photos

 

At least 42 passengers have been confirmed dead, Zimbabwe police said on Friday, after a suspected gas tank exploded on a bus, with pictures showing the burnt-out wreckage of the vehicle.

“At the moment we know that more than 42 people died,” police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told AFP after the accident late on Thursday, with state media reporting a gas tank belonging to a passenger was believed to have exploded.

“Our police officers are at the scene,” Charamba added.

The state-owned Herald newspaper said on its Twitter feed that “it is suspected a gas tank belonging to one of the passengers caused the inferno in the bus.

“Dozens have been confirmed dead and several others injured through burns.”

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation published photographs showing the destroyed vehicle on a highway from the South African border crossing to the second city Bulawayo.

Last week, 47 people were killed when two buses collided on a road between the capital Harare and the eastern town of Rusape.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said road safety had to be improved after that crash.

Traffic accidents are common in Zimbabwe, where roads are riddled with potholes due to years of underfunding and neglect, and driving standards can be poor.

In June last year, 43 people were killed in a bus crash in the north, along the highway leading to neighbouring Zambia.

AFP

Update on Ibadan accident: 7 confirmed dead in autocrash

7 of the pupils that were badly injured in a school bus fire accident that occurred on Wednesday in Oyo state, have passed away.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the University College Hospital, UCH, where the pupils are been treated, Dr. Biodun Otegbayo, says the other children are in a critical condition, while the school (Divine Wisdom Group of Schools), has been closed down temporarily by the proprietress, Mrs Oke Ejemuta, to mourn the deceased and allow parents gain psychological balance.

The Oyo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Godwin Ogagaoghene, who confirmed the death toll, criticised the kind of buses being used by private schools.

According to him, school buses should have two exit doors which makes entry and exit easy for school children. He added that vehicle owners should always have fire extinguishers in their vehicles, because if the school bus had one, the situation would have been prevented.

The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who also confirmed the death toll after a visit to the hospital, ordered the immediate release of N6m to buy of all the equipment needed to treat the children

Our previous report

15 pupils between the ages of 5 and 11, of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools,  Lagelu Local Government Area, Oyo State were  badly injured on Wednesday when a school bus conveying  them to school suddenly caught fire.

The bus driver, Mr. Serif Oyedele, who had his hand and leg burnt, stated that the mishap occurred when the engine of the bus (Ford) suddenly stopped working after picking up the pupils from the bus stop.  “As a mechanic, I checked the engine to rectify the problem… After I checked and discovered that the bus had battery problem, I told some of the older ones among the children to assist me in pushing it but while pushing they told me that fuel was dripping from underneath the vehicle. As I tried to open the engine, fire just started. That was how the whole bus got burnt.”

Those pushing it escaped unhurt, while the others were trapped in the bus. “It was when I was trying to rescue the children that I also got burnt in the hand and leg but I was able to rescue  six of them, including my five-year-old child who sat beside me in front of the bus.” he said.

All the pupils were later carried in a commercial cab and motorcycles to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the University College Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan for proper medical attention.

The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Oke Ejemuta, who was said to have ordered the closure of the school, said “…We thank God…that they are all responding to treatment. It is the arrow of the devil. You can confirm from the parents, we bought the school bus (a J5 bus) last year, so it is a new vehicle. We hired the service of a driver-mechanic so that he can deploy his experience anytime there is need for it. We want to implore the parents to be calm.”