A 39-YEAR-OLD truck driver escaped death by a whisker early yesterday when a tanker he was driving caught fire about 20km out of Beitbridge town.
The driver was attending to a mechanical fault at the time the fire broke out, at about 5 am along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Road.
The officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, said the tanker was travelling from South Africa to Bulawayo carrying 32,2 tonnes of Sulphate.
“Preliminary investigations reveal that the man who is employed by Nello Logistics South Africa was driving a Scania horse and towing two trailers.
“The vehicle is registered in the neighbouring country,” he said.
It is said that upon getting to the 293km peg, the truck driver, who was travelling alone, noted that the rear right wheel of one of the trailers was binding.
He then stopped the vehicle to check on the fault and discovered that the wheel had caught fire.
As a result, he tried to put out the fire but failed as it spread rapidly and engulfed the whole vehicle.
Said Chief Supt Nyongo:
“The whole vehicle started burning and he sought help.
“Unfortunately, the fire fighters arrived when the flame had become uncontrollable.
“As a result, the goods, the truck and import documents were destroyed by the fire.”
The incident happened less than a day after three people were killed when the vehicles they were travelling in collided head-on near the same area late on Sunday afternoon.
Several others were injured in the accident and were taken to various medical facilities in Beitbridge town.
It is reported that a Toyota Corolla carrying mourners was heading towards the border town when it collided with a Toyota Quantum that was travelling in the opposite direction.
Following the collision, the Quantum caught fire trapping one person who died instantly and two others from the Toyota Corolla were also killed.
The bodies have since been conveyed to the mortuary.
Recently, three Zimbabweans died while another was seriously injured when a tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded in Boksburg, South Africa.
Over 30 people died while others sustained injuries of varying degrees as a result of the disaster.
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