KAMPALA - Lying rather meekly on a hospital bed at the Kampala International University Teaching Hospital, Hassan Hazizi, the turn-boy of the ill-fated truck, is one of the few survivors of the accident that has so far claimed 21 lives.
Hazizi, who sustained severe burns, is among the five survivors following Sunday's accident at Kyambura stage in Bushenyi district when an oil tanker rammed into a minibus and a saloon car parked on the roadside.
"On overturning, one of the tanks burst and fire broke out," he said.
Hazizi and Ali Black, the driver of the oil tanker vehicle, left Eldoret in Kenya on Friday last week, destined to Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They slept at Malaba on the Uganda-Kenya border, and on Saturday, they drove up to Lukaya, where they spent the night, before setting off for Kasese on Sunday morning.
They never reached. Ali died.
"Ali told me the brakes had failed before he went quiet and started to struggle with the tanker. Those were his last words," Haziz said.
"As we struggled to get out, it occurred to me that Ali was stuck and I decided to pull him out. However, my leg got trapped in one of the seats and at that point, I concentrated on freeing myself. During the process of rescuing my colleague, the second tank also burst into flames. The fire and smoke became unbearable and I was overpowered. That is when I jumped out of the vehicle. As I ran, I felt that the flames were following me, he added.