PASSENGERS who survived Saturday’s Smart Express Vumba bus accident have blamed the driver for causing the mishap as they accused him of drinking beer before the journey to Mutare.

However, the driver, who refused to divulge his name, quickly dismissed the allegations and attributed the accident to a mechanical fault.

The accident occurred barely a year after another Smart Express bus killed over 50 people along the Harare-Mutare Highway in a horrific national disaster.

With over 40 people on board while descending the steep Vumba curves, the driver lost control of the bus at the 15km peg from Mutare at the Lower Vumba Gardens.

It landed on its right side, injuring several passengers who were quickly rushed to hospital by guests who were attending a wedding nearby.

When the Manica Post arrived at the scene moments later, most of the injured had been taken to hospital.

The visibly confused bus driver labored to explain what had happened.

“When I was negotiating a curve, I heard something breaking under the bus and I knew it was the U-bolt. I lost control of the vehicle but I managed to avoid hitting trees, otherwise people would have died,” he said.

When asked about his alleged braai and beer drinking binge at Chishakwe Business Centre before the journey to Mutare he said: “I didn’t drink beer. These are mere allegations.”

However, accident victims were singing from a different hymn book.

Precious Marigo who suffered head and body injuries said: “I boarded the bus at Tambawaguta bus stop after I had been told by a passerby that the bus was delaying because the bus driver was busy drinking beer and braaing at Chishakwe Business Centre. When I boarded the bus he (the driver) was shouting at passengers to move fast because he was behind time. He was also speeding, despite passengers discouraging him from doing so.”

A man who identified himself as the owner of the bus, Ken Makosi, refused to comment on the accident. He begged the reporter to drop the story.

“Please don’t publish this story because it will tarnish the image of our company. We will definitely do something for you.

state media