LATEST UPDATE: Smart Express-Bolt Cutter buses in fatal road accident just after Rusape tollgate, Mutare Road

At least 47 people  died on spot and several others were seriously injured today when two buses were involved in a head on collision near Rusape toll gate along the Harare Mutare highway.

The horror crash involved Smart Express and Bolt Cutter buses.

Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told reporters they have so far identified 47 bodies.

2 of the deceased were minors.

What happened?

Two buses drove too close to each other at speed on the road linking Mutare and Harare, resulting in a side-swipe just after 5PM that completely ripped open the length of the left side of the Smart Express bus.

The rear panel of the Smart Express bus sheared off and sat a few meters from where most of the bus came to a stop off the road.

The other bus, operated by Bolt Cutter, had its front completely destroyed, mangling the door and trapping passengers inside.

The government sent its condolences and vowed “stern measures” to prevent a similar disaster.

Police spokesman Assistant Inspector Paul Nyathi said police had accounted for the bodies of 45 adults and two children, but warned the death toll could rise.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The disaster is already Zimbabwe’s second highest death toll from a bus crash since the Nyanga Bus Disaster of August 1991 that killed 89 people.

The second worst disaster involved a King Lion bus on its way to Zambia which killed 45 people in the Nyamakate area, about 30km before Makuti on the Harare-Chirundu highway in June last year.

That second spot had for a long time been held by a Mhunga bus that ploughed into the Shashe River near Masvingo on the highway to Harare in June 2002, killing 40 people.

Below are pictures of the two buses.

Please note: Pictures have been edited as they are not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.