Horror crash kills 10By: OSWALD SHIVUTE
“IT was hell. Everyone was screaming and crying. I do not know what really happened because it was very fast like lightning.”
These were the words of Aino Iitembu (32), one of the survivors of a fatal accident which killed 10 people in the early hours of Saturday morning about 30km from Tsumeb on the road to Oshivelo.
A truck collided head-on with a Namib Contract Haulage Express Services bus after the driver allegedly swerved from his lane and ploughed into the oncoming bus. The bus was carrying 64 passengers while the truck had only two occupants.
Iitembu, a teacher of Bright Hill Pre-Primary School at Babylon in Windhoek, who was on her way to the funeral of a relative, said she did not know how she survived, because she was sitting in the front of the bus where many of the dead were sitting.
“I was sleeping and was woken up by a big bang sound,” she told The Namibian from her bed in the Oshakati State Hospital.
Most of the people in the bus were from the Ongandjera and Uukwaluudhi traditional districts and were on their way home for the weekend from Windhoek.
According to Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’s Catherine Shipushu, nine people died at the scene of the crash, while the 10th person died in hospital. The bus driver was one of those who died instantly.
“Around 28 people sustained varying degrees of injuries, with three confirmed cases of severe injuries. Two of the severely injured patients, one of whom is the truck driver, were airlifted from Tsumeb to Windhoek and are both currently in ICU. The third patient was transported to Ongwediva for further injury management. The ages and gender of the deceased have not been released as yet,” she said.
Health authorities at the Tsumeb District Hospital told The Namibian that they had treated 43 people while five were taken to Tsumeb Private Hospital.
Nine of those who where getting treatment at Tsumeb District Hospital were transferred to Oshakati State Hospital where they are currently getting treatment, the hospital said.
All the bodies of those who died in the accident were taken to the Oshakati Police mortuary where relatives started arriving yesterday to identify them.
Oshana Police Commisioner Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa called on those who might have lost relatives in the crash to go to the Oshakati Police mortuary to identify them.
The Namibian arrived at the scene a few hours after the accident.
“When we got here, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everyone was screaming and crying,” said Fritz Kantewa, an ambulance driver from Oshivelo.
Maria Sheya, a survivor and employee of the Kalahari Sands Hotel in Windhoek, said she was on her way to visit her mother in hospital.
She was also sleeping when the accident happened. So too was another survivor, Fransina Gotlieb (24), whose face was cut by broken glass.
Christofina Andreas (29) was not aware of the accident until people woke her up and told her that they had been in an accident. She also suffered cuts to her face.
Elizabeth Nakale (40) said her baby was ripped from her arms by the impact. Police later found the baby crying in the bush and returned it to her.