Grief and disbelief has engulfed Mzuzu Health Centre after an odd attempt to save a fuel container left a funeral-bound minibus crashing on the roadside, killing a clinician and injuring 12.
Health workers at the overwhelmed facility were downcast and murmurs of incomprehension were heard on Friday, around 3pm, as news of the death of Mzimba North health public relations officer Monica Gondwe trickled in.
They spoke of a terrible aftershock following the accident at Luviri, Mzimba, at a time they were struggling to come to grips with the death of long-serving medical assistant Cecilia Kuwanda, whose body was in an ambulance heading for her burial in Chiradzulu, when the Toyota Coaster minibus registration MG 928AA veered into the extreme nearside.
According to regional police spokesperson Maurice Chapola, Gondwe, a 40-year-old from Chikulamayembe in Rumphi, died on the spot having sustained severe head injuries. .
There were 30 people on board when Mzuzu Central Hospital (MCH) driver Muwuso Longwe, 34, lost control in a bizarre attempt to save a jerrycan of diesel.
“We are reliably informed that the vehicle was speeding when the passenger alerted the driver that one of the fuel vessels had dropped off. With the vehicle still in motion, the driver stood up on the steering wheel and gazed backwards to verify the passengers’ report,” explained Chapola.
Longwe spent Friday night in police custody as he faces charges of negligence and causing death due to reckless driving.
The injured 12, who were admitted to Mzimba District Hospital shortly after the fateful afternoon, had been transferred to MCH by Saturday morning.n