Two pupils and a woman died while five were seriously injured when a truck which carried maize overturned at Namatapa Primary School in Bangwe Township in Blantyre, on Monday.
The accident galvanises calls by concerned citizens for government to ban cargo trucks from plying city roads. Logistics experts recommend that cargo trucks should offload at entry points to cities and allow smaller delivery vans of up to 15 tonnes to do deliveries in cities.
The truck, registration number RU 3575, belonging to Trans Ribeiro, was travelling from Lilongwe to dispatch the maize at ProtoFeeds in Bangwe.
One of the eyewitnesses, Patricia Kuseliwa, said the driver failed to control the truck as it descended the new bypass road which connects Limbe and Bangwe through Namatapa Primary School.
She said the driver failed to negotiate a corner and hit the school’s brick fence before it overturned to trap the pupils and passersby in the process.
“I was coming from home with my friend when I saw the vehicle coming at very high speed. I actually jumped into the drain to avoid it while my friend ran away,” she said.
Namatapa Primary School Head teacher, Vincent Jimu, confirmed that six of his pupils were involved in the accident.
Jimu, wondered why the loaded freightliner was using the road which is too narrow for such vehicles.
“If you look at the vehicle, it is too big to be using the road. And again, the junction where the road branches off from Mpingwe is too close to the school. Unless something is done, such fateful accidents will continue happening,” he said.
The scene turned chaotic when some people tried to take advantage of the situation to steal the maize and spare parts of the vehicle prompting police to fire tear gas.
The driver of the truck, John Biziwick, who sustained minor injuries is at large.
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