Seven people died in a road accident on Saturday near Elephant Rock along Chikangawa Forest on the M1 Road in Mzimba District.
The accident involved a truck registration NA 7605/LA1281 which carried 600 bags of fertiliser from Lilongwe on its way to Mzuzu.
Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said in an interview yesterday that the vehicle’s driver, Gift Magolasa, failed to negotiate a corner due to overspeeding, causing the vehicle to swerve sideways and overturn.
He said: “The driver carried unauthorised passengers. Six people died on the spot, while five were seriously injured and taken to Mzuzu Central Hospital for admission. Unfortunately, one of the four also died on arrival. So, we still have four people admitted.
“The driver is one of those still admitted while the six dead bodies are at Mzimba Hospital mortuary. The other one is at Mzuzu Central Hospital mortuary. We still have not identified the rest of the people involved in the accident.”
Kalaya has since asked people who are not able to reach their relatives to check with the two hospitals for possible identification.
He advised: “As police, we are asking people, especially passengers, to be boarding authorised passenger vehicles such as buses and minibuses. Drivers must not carry what they are not supposed to. Always observe the speed limit.”
The accidents comes barely two weeks after Northern Region Police announced that 201 people had died in 296 road accidents in the region in 2017.
According to Northern Region Police Commissioner Effie Kaitano, in 2016 the region recorded 167 deaths from with the same number of road accidents.
She said: “The majority of the road accidents happened in Mzimba where we have a winding road.”
Kaitano attributed the road accidents to reckless driving and over-speeding, but disputed arguments that road accidents are on the increase due to corruption among traffic officers which affects enforcement of the law.
Regional executive committee chairperson for the police in the North Kamukhoti Mkandawire said the accidents are on the increase because some drivers evade traffic checks.
It has been a bad year for Mzimba District with several accidents claiming many lives, including 22 Malawi Defence Force soldiers who died when a vehicle they were travelling in overturned at Mapanjira on November 1.