Kwekwe Municipality’s state of disaster preparedness came under the spotlight on Monday night after rescue workers took almost eight hours to retrieve three accident victims trapped inside the wreckage of a haulage truck they were travelling in.
The accident occurred 30km outside Kwekwe along the Kwekwe-Gweru Road. According to eyewitnesses, the truck, which was travelling towards Gweru, veered off the road and landed on its roof, trapping three passengers on board.
Police confirmed the incident and said one person died on the spot. The truck driver and other passengers sustained serious injuries and were still admitted at Kwekwe General Hospital yesterday.
Kwekwe rescue workers who spoke on condition of anonymity said they received the accident report at around 6pm but arrived at the scene around 7:30pm.
Owing to antiquated equipment, the firemen only managed to pull out the last man at 11:38pm.
The rescue workers blamed the city’s obsolete equipment for the delays.
“We could have saved that one life had we been able to work our way to him on time, but our machinery is old and not performing properly. We need huge funding to ensure we are at the top of our game,” said a rescue worker who declined to be named.
“The fire tender has no hand brakes and had to be wedged by a tyre at the accident scene to stop it from rolling over.
“It also has no wiper motor, making it dangerous to use during the rainy season,” he said.
According to the firemen, Kwekwe uses Omatro equipment which includes spreader, cutter, piston ramp and the Omatro pump bought in 1991.
Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa said the council was aware of the state of the equipment, adding the local authority was in the process of acquiring new equipment to ensure efficient service delivery.
Chairman of the housing and community services committee Johannes Ngozo said: “We regret such an incident and we don’t look forward to such things happening.
“We, however, assure residents council is doing everything in its power to ensure that everything is corrected.”