A TRUCK driver from Kadoma yesterday turned into a lifesaving hero when he braved raging flames and pulled out eight people from the burning wreckage of a Beta bus accident in Mutare.
Sirizani Butau was one of the first motorists to arrive at the 242km peg along the Harare-Mutare highway where four people were killed when a Beta bus crashed into a fuel tanker and burst into flames just outside Mutare.
The accident took place at around 5.00pm.
But while many stood away from the dozens of passengers desperately crying for help even as others were taking photos and videos of the wreckage, Butau instantly placed his head on the grind by throwing himself into the fire to save lives.
He pulled out eight people who could possibly have been burnt to death, according to eyewitness. Images of Butau show him looking greasy, with burns on his legs and arms from the flames.
As reported earlier by HourlyHits, the deceased included two passengers on the bus, the tanker driver and his passenger. The rest of the passengers kicked emergency exit panels and helped others to escape despite the injuries of many.
However, 54 of those escaping passengers were taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital with injuries described as serious.
Many people have praised Butau with some already looking for his contacts so they may offer him some “presents” in appreciation of the sterling job he did on Christmas eve. Others have suggested that the State give him some official recognition of sorts.
Meanwhile, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the bus, which was on its way from Harare, encroached onto the opposite lane resulting in the head-on collision with the tanker that was heading towards Harare.
“There are reports that the bus driver had tried to avoid a drunken person who was along the road and thereby encroaching onto the opposite lane but we are still conducting investigations.
“Our officers are still on the ground and we will be releasing more details,” he said last night.
Mutare Fire Brigade swiftly responded to the distress call and managed to extinguish the fire.
Traffic was along Mutare Highway was blocked for close to an hour as the remains were being retrieved, with the tanker driver and his passenger’s remains both trapped in the wreckage.