TWENTY-NINE of the 43 victims who died on the spot on Wednesday in the Nyamakate bus disaster have been identified and the process of collecting the bodies has started.
BY NUNURAI JENA
The death toll rose to 45 after two other victims of the disaster succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital.
President Robert Mugabe has since declared the accident a state of disaster.
Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital matron Mavis Dube confirmed that 29 of victims had been identified, but professed ignorance on the whereabouts of the two other passengers on the King Lion bus who reportedly died on the way to hospital.
“So far, 29 bodies have been positively identified and the process of collecting them from the mortuary started with the government’s help,” she said. “As for the other two bodies you are asking about, you can talk to the police. We can only account for the bodies we received.”
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who visited Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital to assess the situation, said the victims would be buried with the government’s assistance of $200 for each one.
Some relatives of the deceased said they were failing to find money and other personal possessions of their relatives, many of whom were in the cross-border business.
Locals have called on the government to revoke King Lion’s bus operator’s permit until all their buses have been inspected and declared mechanically fit to avoid further loss of human lives.
The Lusaka-bound King Lion bus veered off the road and rammed into a tree along the Harare-Chirundu Highway on Wednesday night, killing 43 people on the spot, while 24 were injured.
Survivors said the bus, which had 76 passengers on board instead of the maximum of 69, was speeding, adding the driver could have slept on the wheel when the accident happened.