THREE schoolchildren and a bus conductor have died after a minibus in which they were travelling careered off the road and overturned on the Great East Road in Katuba yesterday.
The bus was transporting pupils to Moomba Secondary School in the morning and eye-witnesses say the driver was allegedly over-speeding.
Two pupils, both girls, and the bus conductor were pronounced dead on arrival at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.
Another pupil, a boy, who was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital, died around 14:00 hours.
The driver, who is said to be ineligible to drive a public service vehicle, and 13 other pupils sustained injuries in the accident.
School authorities have named the dead as 14-year-old Owen Bwalya, Esther Namonje, a Grade 10 pupil, and Nancy Mulenga, a Grade Eight pupil.
UTH public relations manager Mwenya Mulenga said in an interview that three of the 11 pupils admitted to UTH are in a critical condition.
“We received 18 accident victims. Seven boys and seven girls including the driver survived. From the victims three were brought in dead, one has been discharged while the rest are nursing serious injuries,” Mr Mulenga said.
And Minister of General Education John Phiri has described the death of the pupils as tragic.
Moomba Secondary School head teacher Maxwell Nyirenda accompanied Dr Phiri to visit and console the injured pupils at UTH.
Dr Phiri said it is sad that children who were on their way to school met their fate because of careless driving.
He said the ministry will be working with the bereaved families through this trying moment.
Katuba MP Jonas Shakafuswa also visited the accident victims and wept when he saw the injured pupils.
And Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) acting senior public relations manager Frederick Mubanga said the accident happened near Savanna Park on the Great North Road.
Mr Mubanga identified the driver as Lucky Chimanga, 24, of Chazanga township in Lusaka.
“Preliminary accident investigations conducted by the RTSA have revealed that the driver is unlicensed to drive a public service vehicle (PSV) and does not qualify to drive a PSV due to the fact that he is below the age of 25, the required age to obtain a PSV driver’s licence,” Mr Mubanga said.
He also said investigations have revealed that the driver was overspeeding and lost control while trying to overtake another vehicle.
And ELIZABETH CHATUVELA reports that a police officer of Mongu Central Police Station and a driver of Shalom Bus Services coach died on the spot in a head-on collision on Monday night while several other people escaped unhurt on the Mongu-Lusaka road.
Western Province deputy commissioner of police Michael Nkaka named the deceased as Inspector Richard Cheembela, 34, and Kingswell Musankanta, 36.
Mr Nkaka said the accident happened around 22:30 hours in Kasima township.
He said preliminary investigations indicate that Mr Cheembela allegedly caused the accident because he failed to keep to his lane.
He said Mr Cheembela, who was driving a Toyota Vista, collided with an oncoming Lusaka-bound Shalom Bus Services coach which had over 30 passengers on board.
Mr Nkaka said all the passengers in the bus escaped unhurt while a woman identified as Kawanga Muhango, 35, who was a passenger in Mr Cheembela’s vehicle, sustained injuries and is admitted to Lewanika General Hospital.
Minister of General Education John Phiri with Katuba accident survivor Mwanga Lyombe of Moomba Secondary – Photo Credit Daily Mail