THREE people were killed when a pirate taxi they were travelling in was swept away by a flooded river in Zvishavane.
Police identified the three as Tariro Makwa (24), Aneno Manduku (39) and Gertrude Mudhonga (9).
Acting Midlands police spokesperson, Inspector Ethel Mukwende confirmed the incident, which occurred at around 5pm on Sunday.
She said the pirate taxi, a Toyota Noah, had 10 people on board, when the driver tried to cross the flooded river.
“Circumstances are that on the said date, one Cornelius Manduku (48) of Village Runyararo under chief Jahana in Insiza was driving a Toyota Noah from Zvishavane on their way back to Insiza with 10 passengers on board. Upon arrival at Mutorahuku River near Kambasha Primary School, they found the river flooded,” she said.
Asst Insp Mukwende said the driver attempted to cross the flooded river, resulting in the car being swept away with the 10 people on board.
“The three, Manduku, Aneno and Mudhonga got out of the car through the windows and drowned. The other 7 passengers and the driver managed to swim out of the flooded river,” she said.
Asst Insp Mukwende said the matter was reported to police in Zvishavane who attended the scene. She warned motorists against crossing flooded rivers.
“We appeal to motorists to exercise extreme caution and never attempt to cross flooded rivers,” she said.
“The rainy season is upon us and most rivers will be flooded, so drivers should not risk lives by attempting to cross flooded rivers and streams.”
Meanwhile, three more people drowned in separate incidents in Binga and Gokwe after canoes they were using to cross flooded rivers capsized.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said last Wednesday, Tanaka Ndlovu (16) crossed the river from Katete Village to Bale Village to visit his mother.
He returned three days later and along the way, he met David Khulu (39) who then offered him to cross back home using a canoe. During the process, the canoe capsized and the two drowned.
A report was made to the police who are still searching for the bodies.
In Gokwe, a 25-year-old man drowned after a canoe he was travelling in capsized along Munyati River.
Elias Mabhidha was travelling with Allen Choga when the incident occurred. Police said Choga managed to swim to the banks of the river but Mabhidha failed.
Efforts are still being made to locate his body.
Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga urged members of the public to avoid crossing and swimming in flooded rivers during this rainy season as they would be risking their lives.
“We are concerned with cases of drowning which have been recorded so far in the country since the start of the rainy season.
“Let us all take safety measures and avoid swimming or allowing children to play in water bodies such as rivers, streams, trenches and bridges.
Motorists and those with scotch carts should not cross flooded rivers and bridges at all costs.
May I challenge the public to seriously take heed of these safety measures,” he said.