Freedom Mupanedemo and Michael Magoronga
Survivors of the Gweru-Kwekwe bus accident, which claimed 12 people told harrowing stories on how they cheated death.
Ten people were killed on the spot, while 43 others were injured when a Gokwe-bound cross-border bus, Mandeep Tours collided head-on with a Govasberg bus near Kwekwe River along the Gweru-Kwekwe highway on Sunday morning.
Two more people died on admission to hospital.
The Herald visited some of the survivors at Kwekwe District Hospital who narrated their terrifying experiences.
Mr Tsaurayi Mativenga, who runs a grocery business at Nembudziya, Gokwe, and was travelling from Beitbridge said he had taken a nap when he was awakened by deafening noise followed by shrieks and yells.
“I tried to raise my head to see what had happened, but I realised that I was trapped underneath some seats.
“As the screams of pain and anguish reached a crescendo I could not help, but join in hoping my screams were louder than everyone else to attract immediate help,” recalled Mr Mativenga.
He said the accident occurred at around 4.30am and he only found this out after he managed to free himself from the wreckage of the Mandeep bus at around 5am.
“It was still dark as I pulled myself from under the seats and crawled in the blood drenched bus floor until I was finally out of the bus,” he said.
Mr Mativenga, who sustained a deep cut on the left eye, lips after he freed himself, fell to the ground after realising he had dislocated a hip.
He said the driver was tired and this could have caused the accident.
“We had some near misses before the accident because the driver was dosing and swerving from side-to-side. We complained, but he kept going.
“He eventually fell asleep and our bus encroached into the lane of the Govasberg Bus resulting in the head-on collision,” he said.
Another survivor, Ms Sandra Sibanda, who was in the Govasberg bus said it was by God’s grace that she survived to tell the story.
“I had just boarded the Govasberg bus in Kwekwe when the accident occurred less than 30km on. It happened in a twinkle of an eye.
“When the buses collided the impact threw me to the back seat and was thrown on top of people.
“I realised that some of them were already dead. It was a really harrowing experience,” she said.
Mr Last Gurinde, who was also in the Govasberg bus, said he watched in anguish and hopelessly as people died around him.
He said when he got out of the bus through the window, he saw more dead bodies.
“This will haunt me for ever. I watched helplessly as a pregnant woman approximately in her eighth or ninth month, frothing and dying in anguish.
“The two drivers were also trapped for nearly an hour until they died. The fire brigade only arrived approximately an hour after the accident maybe because it was still early in the morning when the accident occurred,” he said.