UPDATE: Govt cancels Passion Link bus licence

17 Jun, 2024 - 16:06 0 Views
UPDATE: Govt cancels Passion Link bus licence The Passion Link Coaches bus in which eight passengers perished after it caught fire yesterday night. Picture: Tinai Nyadzayo

Samuel Kadungure
News Editor

 

GOVERNMENT has cancelled the operating permit of Passion Link Coaches whose bus was involved in an accident in which eight Anglican Diocese of Manicaland pilgrims returning from their Bernard Mzeki shrine in Marondera were burnt beyond recognition while 10 others passengers were injured, three of them seriously.

The injured victims were rushed to Rusape General Hospital, where authorities said they were in a stable condition.

 

Medical superintendent, Dr Stewart Karembo said six victims were still admitted at the hospital while one was transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for further management after sustaining 40 percent body burns.

Three other victims were treated and discharged.

 

The accident occurred on Sunday around 8pm near Gandanzara Business Centre, about 44 kilometres along the Nyabadza-Gandanzara Road as the pilgrims returned to their rural homes in Sherukuru in Mutasa district.

National police spokesperson Commissioner Paul Nyati said the force will descend on errant bus operators without fear and favour.

 

He said the bus had 66 passengers on board when it caught fire, and 58 escaped while eight are presumed dead.

 

More details will be released as forensic investigations are in progress to positively identify the other victims.

 

The bus experienced several mechanical faults along the way, including a faulty clutch, and on approaching the 26km peg along the road, passengers noticed some smoke coming out of the bus engine and alerted the driver – Ray Donald Mugari (40) – who promptly stopped to investigate the source of the smoke.

 

Mugari allegedly opened the engine cover located inside the bus near the passengers’ door, and immediately a ball of fire came out of the engine engulfing the whole bus.

 

Mugari and 57 other passengers escaped from the burning bus through the door and emergency exit windows, while eight were trapped inside the bus and burnt to death.

A forensic team from the police headquarters was on the ground together with a local emergency team to identify and assemble the corpses for positive identification.

 

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Honourable Felix Mhona, toured the scene of the accident yesterday, before visiting the survivors at Rusape General Hospital together with the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza, and other stakeholders.

Minister Mhona urged said the Passion Link Coaches bus that was involved in the accident had no certificate of fitness and as a result, Government has revoked the company’s operating licence with immediate effect.

“The bus operator has openly admitted that the bus had no certificate of fitness, meaning it was not roadworthy. A bus that does not have a certificate of fitness should not be used to ferry people, and the police will arrest both the bus owner and driver as part of the investigations. The other buses from this company will not be allowed to ply our roads again with immediate effect.

 

“We have cancelled their operating permit, which means we will not allow them to ply our roads for the purpose of carrying people. If they had complied with the traffic laws, which do not allow buses without a certificate of fitness to ply our roads, this accident could have been avoided,” said Minister Mhona.

Minister Mugadza said it was a black Sunday for Manicaland.

“We are mourning the loss of life that could have been avoided. It was a black Sunday for our province because this could have been averted had the bus operator been more careful and withdrew it from the road. We convey our condolences to the bereaved families,” he said.

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