Twelve perish, as truck rams into Mazabuka Shoprite
Twelve people have died in a fatal road traffic accident in Mazabuka after an over loaded light truck they were travelling in plunged into Shoprite Checkers killing eleven people among them two toddlers on the spot.
Ten others are battling for their lives in the district hospital.
Both Mazabuka district officer commanding, Lizzy Machina and Southern province commanding officer, Lemmy Kajoba who confirmed the accident in Mazabuka today said the death toll was expected to rise because of serious injuries the victims sustained.
Mr. Kajoba said the accident occurred around 06: 45 hours when a Mitsubishi Canter Registration Number ABJ 3688 lost control and rammed into Mazabuka Shoprite barriers before it overturned.
The commanding officer says six men including the driver who he identified as Lovewell Chileya of Lusaka, four women and two children died in the accident.
Mr. Kajoba says the vehicle was carrying twenty seven fish traders from Lusaka to Monze.
He has cautioned drivers to be careful whenever they approach the slop in front of Mazabuka Shoprite due to the many accidents that have so far occurred at the same spot.
He said the loaded truck had been reduced to a shell because of the impact of the accident.
And Mazabuka district commanding officer, Lizzy Machina who supervised the search of the bodies at Shoprite said a toddler was discovered dead at 08:45 as well wishers, council workers and Zambia Sugar employees helped in the search.
Machina said the accident could have been avoided if all the passengers heeded to the advice by the driver after he had asked them to offload their cargo near Mazabuka Community radio.
According to Machina, the victims were pitched on top of the cargo which included, mealie meal, sugar, sugarcane, opaque beer and fridges.
But Mazabuka district hospital Superitendant, Cosmas Chishimba said the hospital has only recorded 11 deaths among them five males, four females and two children.
Dr. Chishimba further said 10 others are battling for their lives and described their condition as serious.
He however said the challenge the hospital administration is faced with is the identification of the dead because of lack of identity cards.
Dr. Chishimba said his office was now working closely with Police to find ways of searching for identity cards for the deceased from their bags.
She explained that the driver pleaded with the passengers to get off the truck because Police traffic officers had cautioned him against travelling to Monze using a non roadworthy vehicle.
And conductor of the fateful truck, Kennedy Kasongo explained that the truck which departed Lusaka around 19:00 hours from Chibolya market had mechanical faults on two occasions.
Kasongo said the first break down was in Chilanga where the truck had a tyre burst but the driver managed to control it.
He further disclosed that after the tyre was mended at 23:00 hours yesterday, the driver started off for Monze and managed to by-pass the Kafue road block without any problem despite the over load.
Kasongo however said Police traffic officers at Ten miles police post advised the driver not to proceed with the truck to Monze because it was overloaded and advised that he finds alternative transport in order to decongest the truck.
He said some passengers refused to heed to the advice.
Kasongo said it was at that point that the driver kick started the truck and later switched off the engine forcing the truck to drive at a faster speed as it descended to the sloppy Shoprite road.