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70 Perish In Bus Inferno

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th July 2002 03:00 AM

AT LEAST 70 people were burnt to death in an inferno after a fuel tanker and an Isuzu bus collided yesterday in Rutoto, Bunyaruguru, Bushenyi district.

AT LEAST 70 people were burnt to death in an inferno after a fuel tanker and an Isuzu bus collided yesterday in Rutoto, Bunyaruguru, Bushenyi district.

By John Thawite, Allan Turyaguma and John Nzinjah AT LEAST 70 people were burnt to death in an inferno after a fuel tanker and an Isuzu bus collided yesterday in Rutoto, Bunyaruguru, Bushenyi district. The Kampala-bound SB Coach, UAA 227C, belongs to a Kasese businessman, Samuel Black, who runs a transport company. The accident happened at 2:30pm. Bushenyi district Police chief Okello Makmot said the driver of the tanker, HZ 1348C and KV 91346C, transporting paraffin, lost control near Rutoto market before the head-on collision with the bus. Rutoto is about 26km from Bushenyi town. Eye-witnesses in the hilly area where the accident occurred said the speeding tanker was zigzagging in the road. A choking odour from the charred bodies could be smelt within a 200-metre radius. Fire fighters fought hard to pull out burnt bodies from the wreckage. However, by the time they arrived at the scene from Mbarara town, volunteers were already fighting the fire using water drawn from the nearby Nkugute Crater Lake. The Police sealed off the road for about three hours as the wreckage was removed. The fire spread to about half a kilometre in length and about 300 metres wide, burning all vegetation to ash, including banana plantations and trees. Regional Police chief Edward Ochom said thousands of gallons of fuel spilled. He identified the bus driver as Simon Kavuma from Kampala and his female conductor Zainab Mbambu from Bwera town. Bushenyi Resident District Commissioner Bamusedde Bwambale said, “You cannot identify anybody. We have just skulls and skeletons. The only thing we can do is to arrange a mass burial at the accident scene.” Throngs of people flocked to the scene to identify their relatives but were kept away by the fire. The mood in Kasese town and neighbouring trading centres was sombre. Residents appeared overcome by shock. “People here (Kasese) are wailing, standing in-groups discussing the tragedy,” a witness said. “People are weeping. Everybody is looking on in bewilderment. Everything has been burnt to ashes,” an witness said. Some of the dead have been identified as Eunice, a receptionist at Tebaka Lodge in Kasese Town, Jacqueline of the Amnesty Commission in Kasese and a Kasese resident, Juliet. Two children who were tending goats were reported among the dead. Meanwhile, Solomon Muyita and Edris Kisambira add that this is one of the major road accident infernos recently. On July 12, 2002, a fuel tanker collided with a truck in Mbalala, Mukono and exploded, leaving two people with minor injuries. April 19, 2002: A train hit a fuel tanker at a level crossing near Mukwano Industries Kampala. Both burst into flames. December 6, 2001: Over 100 people died after a fuel tanker overturned at Busesa, Iganga and burst into flames. August 15, 2000: At least 33 died on the Kampala-Masaka highway as they scooped fuel that had spilled from a tanker that overturned. April 28, 1994: A Steyr bus caught fire in Ntungamo. February 5, 1994: Three died in Mabira forest after a Toyota van and a tanker collided. December 9, 1993: A fuel tanker burst into flames near the works ministry in Kampala. Ends

70 Perish In Bus Inferno

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