In a gory and heart bleeding accident, at least 42 people are confirmed to have died in a fire aboard a bus in Zimbabwe late on Thursday.
Eyewitness account indicates that the bus was near travelling near Beitbridge, close to the border with South Africa, when the blaze began.
The company that owned the vehicle, Brooklyn Buses, said it believed that a gas canister brought on board by a passenger may have caused the incident.
I was devastated to learn of last night’s tragedy, the second major accident in recent weeks. The thoughts and prayers of a grieving nation go out to the wounded and the families of those killed. We will ensure they get the care and support they require. (1/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) November 16, 2018
Many of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition and more than 20 survivors have been taken to hospital.The driver, who survived the fire, said that he pulled over to the side of the road after detecting a “strange smell”, a police spokeswoman told AFP news agency. When he turned on the lights to investigate, the bus burst into flames, she added.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was “devastated” to hear of the incident, which comes a week after 47 people were killed in a bus collision in the east of the country.
Zim Red Cross first aid teams responded to a horrific accident around midnight at the 56km peg from Gwanda towards Beitbridge involving a South African bound bus. A total of 24 people have been ferried to Hospital while the number of deaths is still to be confirmed. pic.twitter.com/GSu3xRHFB7
— Zimbabwe Red Cross (@ZrcsRed) November 16, 2018
The state-owned Herald newspaper said on its Twitter feed that “it is suspected a gas tank belonging to one of the passengers caused the inferno in the bus.
“Dozens have been confirmed dead and several others injured through burns.”
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation published photographs showing the destroyed vehicle on a highway from the South African border crossing to the second city Bulawayo.
Last week, 47 people were killed when two buses collided on a road between the capital Harare and the eastern town of Rusape.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said road safety had to be improved after that crash.
Traffic accidents are common in Zimbabwe, where roads are riddled with potholes due to years of underfunding and neglect, and driving standards can be poor.
In June last year, 43 people were killed in a bus crash in the north, along the highway leading to neighbouring Zambia.