Twenty of the people who were killed in an accident that occurred along the Masvingo-Zvishavane highway on Monday afternoon were going to a funeral.
The mourners, who were mostly elderly people, were aboard the Toyota Granvia that collided head-on with a Toyota Wish resulting in multiple deaths.
According to police, the Toyota Granvia which was heading west towards Zvishavane burst a tyre resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle.
The Gravia encroached onto an oncoming Toyota Wish’s lane which was going east towards Masvingo resulting in the head-on collision.
Police were on Monday still unable to tell the exact number of passengers and crew in the two vehicles or the identities of the deceased.
Villagers from Jodias and others in the area who spoke to The Herald at the crash scene said the Toyota Wish was notorious for speeding and was a well-known presumed pirate taxi on the Masvingo-Zvishavane road.
Jeffrey Paringira (33) of Jodias Village in Madamombe, who was the first to arrive with his brother Simbarashe Kuzipa, said they started running to the highway when they heard two loud bangs. He said:
It was around 3.30 pm when we heard two loud bangs and when we rushed to the road to investigate, we discovered there was an accident involving two vehicles: a Granvia, which had passengers who appeared to be elderly people said to be going to a funeral, and a Toyota Wish that was going towards Masvingo.
We tried to rescue some of the passengers, but we failed to pull apart the vehicles and we had to rush back home to look for an iron bar that we used to rescue some of the people who were still breathing.
Among the dead in the Wish was a police officer based at Buchwa Police Station, Lincoln Muungani (28), the only son in his family.
He was pulled out of the wreckage alive but later succumbed to his injuries at Zvishavane District Hospital around 6 pm on the same day.
Lincoln’s father, Xavier Muungani (64) of Bulawayo, came with one of Lincoln’s sisters, Noreen Willie and other relatives. He said:
I received the message of my only son’s passing on around 8 pm and by then it was already late so we decided to travel to Zvishavane mortuary today to collect his body. I checked his body. It was badly injured and covered in blood.
It seemed the impact of the crash was too much because the body had deep cuts while some of the ribs were broken. My son surely died a very painful death and I am devastated.
Police commanders from Masvingo led by Assistant Commissioners Florence Marume and Fredrick Mbemgwa were at the crash site yesterday as their teams continued recovering the remains and the wreckage.
Speaking after visiting the crash site with senior police commanders, provincial police spokesperson Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa said:
Police commanders decided to visit the crash site so that we can see for ourselves the situation on the ground and this is part of investigations that are ongoing.
At the moment we only know that the Toyota Granvia burst one of its tyres but investigations are continuing.