Four people died on the spot and three others were seriously injured when a Mercedes Benz C200 and a BMW X5 collided head-on near Kariba Airport yesterday afternoon with the Benz bursting into flames after the impact in the BMW’s lane.
The driver and two passengers in the Mercedes Benz died on the spot as a result of the collision and subsequent fire in the car. The driver of the BMW X5 also died. The three passengers in the BMW were seriously injured and taken to Kariba District Hospital.
The Benz caught fire after the impact and the three in the car were trapped and their bodies burnt beyond recognition. All seven people in the two cars were Kariba residents.
Eyewitness accounts and tyre tracks suggest the driver of the Mercedes Benz C200 lost control as he was driving back from the Airport Bar, perhaps due to a mechanical fault. This resulted in the driver encroaching into the lane of the oncoming BMW X5 on its way to Harare.
Before the collision the visible tyre marks on the tarmac suggest the Mercedes Benz, with the driver braking hard and battling for control, was veering out of its lane and towards the right-hand verge for about 50 metres and then drove for about 30 metres off the tarmac, before the driver manoeuvred the vehicle back onto the road.
The tyre marks are visible in the oncoming lane for about 20 metres before the point of impact.
The loud bang as the two vehicles collided attracted residents from Kariba’s adjacent Nyamhunga Township, while vehicles lined the Kariba-Makuti Road as passers-by stopped to help or tried to catch a glimpse of the wreckage.
National police spokeserson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the accident last night and said there would be more details today.
A security guard who was walking along the Kariba-Makuti Road said he saw the Mercedes Benz veering from its lane onto the oncoming lane before travelling for some metres off the tarmac.
“The Mercedes Benz was coming from the Kariba Airport direction and started behaving strangely. I saw it approaching before it moved to the opposite lane. In a moment, the car was off the road going at high speed.
“The driver then managed to drive back on the road as brakes were screeching but at the same time, another white vehicle approached driving towards Harare and the two cars collided,” said the security guard who preferred anonymity.
As the vehicles collided, the Mercedes Benz caught fire and the people inside could not be rescued, he said.
A few people who were nearby rescued the three passengers in the BMW X5, but the driver had already died.
The horrific accident comes a week after another head-on crash in Harare that claimed the life of socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure with the three passengers in his Rolls Royce burnt beyond recognition when the car caught fire.