BY Everson Mushava/ Tapiwa Zivira
A WRECKAGE of a Trip Trans bus – now a shell precariously perched on top of huge boulders, and pieces of broken trees and other debris – litters Nyapani River bed near Skyline in Chimanimani.
The bus shell, which now lies in the river gorge about half a kilometre from the road, presents a chilling revelation of the might of Cyclone Idai, whose ferocious storm waters swept the bus into the river, killing three people.
The bus, which has remained largely in one piece, except for a missing engine, which was ripped off as the bus was being swept down the gorge, symbolises the inexplicable puzzle of the nature of the cyclone that has so far claimed over 300 and left hundreds others missing after it hit Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.
Around the wreckage lies an assortment of items ranging from ladies’ shoes to wigs, blankets and clothes.
Despite the steep terrain to the river bed where the wreckage lies, the place has become a tourist attraction to hundreds trekking to Chimanimani to try and understand the level of devastation of the floods.
Cherukai Mukamba (47) recounted the horror night when the bus was swept away, killing three people, including the conductor whose bodies were recovered at Nyanyadzi Bridge, over 100km from the accident scene.
“On March 14, it rained and for over 12 hours it poured down non-stop. At around 9pm, a tree fell on the road and the bus could not pass,” he said.
“The driver offered us $20 for us to cut off the tree so that the bus could pass. I rushed home, took an axe and with three other villagers, started cutting the tree while the driver watched and ordering people to disembark from the bus.”
He added: “When we were cutting, a strong wind came, it threw us off balance and we felt the danger and left the place immediately. I went home and after 30 minutes, I heard sounds like stones hitting each other and then a loud bang and all went quiet.
“Early in the morning, we discovered this bus here, with all these stones. This was a field and all these stones were not here. We later heard from the bus driver that water started washing stones that hit the bus and forced it down into the river.”
A Christian, Mukamba said he was still traumatised by what he saw during the floods and believes it was God’s way of communicating his anger with the way the people have chosen to live sinful lives.
“I am not sure how many people died. There were two women who remained asleep in the bus and the conductor. Their bodies were recovered at Nyanyadzi. I don’t want to think about what happened. In short it was a nightmare.”