Road accident involving a bus at Rivirivi Bridge has exposed Malawi’s loose emergency response services after both police and medical personnel took over two hours to rescue a woman who was trapped by the fallen Future Tours Bus with the registration number BLK 4093.
The woman had consistently kept crying out for help to the point where onlookers feared her dead after she had gone silent only to find her still breathing after the rescue.
Onlookers at the scene were observed wailing whilst others fainted as they couldn’t contain the sight of the injured survivors.
Balaka District Hospital which responded to the accident where ten people have been confirmed dead, three have sustained serious injuries and 45 others have escaped with minor injuries, seemed to have been overwhelmed.
Only seven medical personnel were available to assist the casualties. A single ambulance was available to ferry injured people to the hospital while dead bodies remained on the scene.
Spokesperson for Balaka Hospital Spokesperson, Mercy Nyirenda, said some of the injured have been referred to Zomba Central Hospital, which is 81 kilometres away from the Balaka for specialized treatment.
According to Ntcheu Police Public Relations Officer Hastings Chigalu, the bus which was travelling from Lilongwe to Blantyre burst one of its tyres and the driver lost control trying to navigate a turn causing the bus to overturn several times before resting at the steel bars of the bridge.
“While at the scene legs, hands, and other body parts were collected separately from their bodies and sent to the waiting ambulance,” said Chigalu told Mana.
According to an eye witness at the scene, James Ngozo, the bus overturned three times before hitting a bridge pavement.
“The bus was speeding and we first heard the sound of the tyre bursting the crashing followed. We rushed to find people crying whilst others were trying to escape” said Ngozo.