Police have released names of the 18 people who perished in a road crash in Centenary, Mashonaland Central, over the weekend with one family losing six of its members after a commuter omnibus they were travelling in developed a mechanical fault and veered off the road.
Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka identified the victims as: the driver Paul Nechiwowe (29); Richard Madanhi (33); Ray Mhembwe (34); Mercy Nhau (32); Stanley Madanhi (36); Tichaedza Chigenje (33); Jonathan Madanhi (51); Milka Mhembwe (8); Rachel Madanhi (1); David Madanhi (7); Anesu Nhau (6); Rufaro Buraki (4); Sharon Nhau (10); Farai Nhau (8); Panashe Nhau (3); Kudakwashe Chimwendo (unknown); Gracious Jakachira (25); and an unidentified toddler.
“The Toyota Hiace is believed to have been carrying 35 passengers which saw the 19 perishing. The Hiace was carrying people from Hatcliffe who were going for a church gathering.”
All the deceased drawn from Hatcliffe suburb in Harare were reportedly travelling to Centenary for a church meeting. They were all members of the African Apostolic Church led by Paul Mwazha
The Madanhi family lost six members while the Nhau family lost four.
When NewsDay visited Hatcliffe yesterday, a sombre atmosphere was prevailing, with neighbours saying most of the deceased were from the same street.
Narrating the ordeal, one of the crash survivors, Confidence Mtondodzwa, said: “I was seated at the backseat of the car and I could hear some sounds from underneath the vehicle, but the other passengers said there was nothing amiss as far as they were concerned.
“From then on the vehicle veered off the road and crashed against a nearby tree. I was thrown out of the car due to the impact and fractured my left arm. My two-year-old son also survived the crash but is still in hospital.”