Four people died yesterday while 14 others sustained serious injuries after a Mzuzu University (Mzuni) coaster they were travelling in plunged into Nadzipulu River near Ntakataka Trading Centre in Dedza.
The coaster carried students from Mzuni and Mzuzu Technical College and their officials who were returning from a National Bank of Malawi (NBM)Mo626 National College basketball tournament at Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) in Thyolo.
Police said the minibus had 39 passengers on board and 21 of them, including the driver identified as 39-year-old Stefano Kamowa, survived with minor injuries.
Dedza Police Station spokesperson Edward Kabango identified the four who died on the spot as Oswald Chimangeni, Moses Mzumara, Winn Yolodani Mwale and Aggie Kanyemba.
However, as we went to press, it had not been confirmed whether the deceased were all students or not as their full particulars were still unclear.
Kabango said upon reaching the accident scene, the driver lost control of the vehicle and swerved to the right lane where he hit metal bars of Nadzipulu Bridge before falling into the river.
“Due to the impact of the accident, four passengers died on the spot while 14 others were seriously injured and the vehicle got extensively damaged,” he said.
Mzuni Students Representative Council (Musrec) president Wazamazama Katatu also confirmed that the students were involved in an accident but did not have specific details.
“It is very unfortunate. We are getting reports that some died on the spot… I am yet to establish the number of those that have died,” said Katatu.
Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) president Hamlet Kamtengeni said he was travelling to the scene with a representative from National Bank of Malawi, sponsors of the basketball tournament, to assess what happened.
In a statement after the accident, Wilkins Mijiga, NBM head of strategy and marketing, said before the students took part in the basketball tournament on Saturday organisers had earlier taken a precaution by accommodating the students at The Polytechnic in Blantyre, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, so that the students did not travel at night. n