Tynwald school bus disaster: Families grieve

Source: Tynwald school bus disaster: Families grieve | Sunday Mail (Top Stories)

Emmanuel Kafe

WHEN 15-year-old Kimberly Mutusva, a Form Two learner at Tynwald High School in Harare, exchanged pleasantries with her father before leaving for a school trip to Nyanga on Friday, she reminded him about her dream to one day start a company with her two friends.

She left, but never returned.

Kimberly and her two friends tragically perished in a bus accident on the same day after their school bus veered off the road when the driver reportedly failed to negotiate a sharp curve.

The trio was among six Tynwald High School learners — five girls and one boy — who died on the Rusape-Nyanga road.

Thirty-nine others, including school staff, were injured.

Families of the deceased learners are distraught.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Kimberly’s grieving father, Mr Macmillan Mutusva, described his daughter as a prayerful and talented girl, who was ready to take on the world.

“She was very prayerful, a reserved person and business-minded, even at such an age. Together with her two friends who died in the accident, they were in the process of registering a shelf company of their own,” he said, as he fondly reminisced about his daughter in a recollection that was punctuated by heart-rending sobs.

“We prayed before they left and I told her to go and be happy with others. Receiving the news that your daughter is no more is the most devastating information anybody can receive; I am numb.”

His grief is shared by families of the five other teens.

By yesterday, details of the bus disaster were beginning to emerge.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the school bus was carrying 46 people.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirms that six students, comprising five girls and a boy from Tynwald High School, died on October 14, 2022, at 7pm, when the school bus which was on its way to a trip veered off the road and overturned at the 75km peg along Rusape-Nyanga Road, near Pine Tree Hotel,” he said in a statement.

“The bus driver allegedly failed to negotiate a sharp curve, resulting in the bus rolling several times on a steep slope. It then landed on its roof. Thirty-nine other students and staff members were injured and are admitted at Nyanga District (Hospital) and Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.”

Nyanga District Medical Officer Dr John Muungani told ZBC yesterday that most of the learners had been discharged.

“Of the victims that were injured in the accident, 10 were transferred to Mutare after being stabilised at Nyanga District Hospital . . . So far, we have discharged most of the students and we are now remaining with seven that are waiting for their parents to come and collect them, and they are all in a stable condition,” he said.

Nyanga South Member of Parliament Mr Supa Mandiwanzira commended the Government and the people of Nyanga for their timeous response to the accident.

“The response to the accident scene was amazing, from the traffic that was passing to police officers and the army that came to assist. We had ambulances coming from Mutare; doctors from private and Government institutions also came to assist,” he said.

In a statement, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) urged bus drivers to exercise caution, adhere to traffic laws and avoid speeding when transporting school children.

TSCZ managing director Mr Munesushe Munodawafa said: “We encourage drivers to avoid night driving at all costs. We also implore school authorities and bus operators to always employ drivers who possess driver’s licences and defensive driving certificates.”

TSCZ in partnership with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, he added, will step up awareness programmes in schools to prevent road accidents.