Inside the deadly school holiday trip

FATEFUL TRIP … Hendrick Kudumo (2) and Grace Micheal (3)
…family loses three and one in intensive care

What was supposed to be a joyful school holiday for 13-year-old Anna Rangamani and her younger cousins, Hendrick Kudumo (2) and Grace Michael (3), accompanied by their grandmother Sophia Likuwa (83), ended in tragedy.

The journey to Windhoek from Rundu was intended to be a time for family bonding and relaxation, but instead it turned into a devastating accident that claimed their lives, along with several others, last week Tuesday.

Among those who died are Eduardo Tyimbsndi (63), Festus Ndakolo (29), Nelson Linyunga (28), Reagan Kwala (40) and Titus Johannes (41).

Luciana told The Namibian that she cried immediately after receiving the call because it explained why her mother’s phone was unreachable.

“I just knew that they were the ones involved in the accident because her phone was fully charged and now all of a sudden it was off,” she says.

Describing the incident, Luciana says the journey took a fatal turn when the vehicle they were travelling in collided with another one on a rural road.

Luciana describes her life as lost and broken since losing three of her family members, with one admitted to intensive care.

“The doctor said Grace’s brain died and at any point we are expecting her to be no more,” she says.

The three family members will be buried on Saturday at Sauyema near Rundu.

Luciana describes Rangamani as a bright, disciplined and cheerful teenager who never missed church and had her whole life ahead of her.

She further describes Kudumo and Micheal as young and full of innocence, bringing joy wherever they went.

Anna Rangamani (13) and Sophia Likuwa (83)

Luciana, who works in the Namibian military, says she is left with a huge financial burden of having to bury her mother, nieces and nephew.

“I am therefore pleading for any good samaritan to help me out so that I can lay my family members to rest,” she pleads.

According to police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi, the accident, which occurred on the B1 road, involved a collision between a 7-seater vehicle and an SUV (Fortuner), resulting in the extensive number of deaths.

It is further alleged that a Brazilian national, identified as the driver of the Fortuner, has been arrested and charged with culpable homicide, reckless driving and inconsiderate driving under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Shikwambi says the suspect is currently under police guard at a hospital at Otjiwarongo.

Although the police later said there was a ninth victim who died in the accident, they have not revealed the name.

It is alleged that the police have transferred the case to Otavi for further investigation, with the suspect’s first court appearance scheduled for 27 June.

Meanwhile, Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund spokesperson Jane Ikela extended condolences to the affected families.

She adds that in the event of a road crash, the fund encourages bystanders to dial the toll free MVA Fund accident response number at 9682 and report the crash.

Where possible, they should state the location of the crash, the number of vehicles involved, the number of persons injured and the severity of injuries.

Ikela reminds all road users to drive with care and consideration for other road users and ensure adherence to road traffic regulations to avoid such tragedies.

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