HARARE, Zimbabwe - In a tragic accident that took place in Zimbabwe, two speeding buses were involved in a head-on collision, killing 47 people and leaving 80 others injured.
The incident, which took place on a road between the capital Harare and the eastern town of Rusape, saw two long distance buses headed in opposite directions colliding on a road that had reportedly been resurfaced only recently.
In a statement, police spokesman Paul Nyathi said, “We confirm 47 people have died in a road traffic accident at the 166-km peg along the Harare-Mutare highway."
Nyathi added that the accident occurred about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the capital Harare on Wednesday evening.
The top cop added that fears were high that the death toll could rise because 80 others who suffered injuries in the accident had been admitted to the hospital and some of them had suffered serious injuries.
In a statement issued to the state broadcaster, Ellen Gwaradzimba, the provincial minister for Manicaland province said that both the buses were speeding.
Gwaradzimba added that one of the buses tried to pass two haulage trucks on a stretch of the road where overtaking is prohibited, which resulted in the collision with an oncoming bus.
In a report, the state-run Herald newspaper said that the number of dead bodies overwhelmed the morgue at the local public hospital in the small town of Rusape, since the morgue there was built to accommodate only up to 16 bodies.
It added that the hospital sought help from a private funeral parlour to take in some of the bodies.
Further, the newspaper said on its Twitter page that pictures from the scene were too graphic to post.
In a statement to the local media, Fortune Chasi, the Deputy Transport Minister, said that the government will take steps to curb the road carnage.
Promising to rein in public service vehicles and their owners, Chasi said in a tweet, “Totally needless loss of lives. This event should be the last before stern measures are taken."
The roads in Zimbabwe are riddled with potholes, which lead to several traffic accidents each year.
The poor conditions of roads are blamed on years of underfunding and neglect and often accidents are also blamed on bad driving.
Previously, 43 people were killed in a bus crash that occurred in northern Zimbabwe, along a highway leading to neighbouring Zambia in June last year.