Survivors recall harrowing horror crash

SURVIVORS of the fatal accident involving Smart Express and Bolt Cutter buses — which killed 50 people — at the weekend recalled the harrowing experiences of the horror night and said the memories of dead bodies strewn all over the tarmac would continue to haunt them for a long time unless they receive post-trauma counselling.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Wilson Kutsami

The accident, which was declared a national disaster, happened on Wednesday last week at the 166km peg along the Harare-Mutare Highway and saw over 70 people injured following a side-swipe.

NewsDay visited Rusape General Hospital, where hospitalised survivors shared their traumatic experiences.

Patrick Kudakwashe (24), who lost a cousin in the crash, struggled to hold back tears as he spoke.

“I was going to Harare with my stuff aboard the Smart bus. The driver was speeding. He tried to overtake two haulage trucks and a Toyota Wish at a curve and failed to beat the vehicles as the other bus was very close,” he said.

Kudakwashe, who sustained head injuries, said in just the split of a second, he heard a loud bang and saw a toddler thrown out of the bus and landing on the tarmac.

“The following morning, I was told that I had lost my cousin, Mike Huta, who was accompanying me to Harare,” he said.

Johanne Masowe apostolic member Wilson Kutsami (40) said he survived the accident by the grace of God.

“I boarded the Smart bus in Rusape as I was coming from Nyanga for our church service. I was sitting on the front seat when I had heard a loud bang,” Kutsami said.

“The bus was speeding. Thankfully, my God saved me and I saw every moment of what happened. I saw people being thrown out of the bus and bodies scattered all over the place.”

Nyasha Masarakufa (30) said she was surprised that her three-year-old baby survived the accident.

“I can’t explain how my baby survived. I thought I had lost my daughter, but she was safe. X-rays have been done and she is fine,” she said.

The driver of the Harare-bound Smart bus, Cosmas Marembo, was reportedly travelling nearly twice the speed limit when he tried to overtake the haulage truck and Toyota Wish at a blind curve.