SEVENTEEN members of the Catholic Church have died on the spot while several others sustained serious injuries after being involved in an accident in Mbala – the number of death is expected to rise as most of those injured are on life support.
A Road Transport and Safety Agency ( RTSA) official says his organization is concerned with the continued disregard of road rules and regulations by motorists.
Kasama Archdiocese communications secretary Fr Felix Chishimba confirmed the accident to Radio Maria.
He said the victims were members of a lay movement called St Vincent De Paul.
“The St Vincent De Paul members were coming from Kayambi Mission going to Mpulungu, so on the way, they passed Mbala. Now as they were approaching Mpulungu, you know it is very steep as you are going to Mpulungu, you have to go through mountains, so I have been told that the vehicle had no breaks, it lost breaks, and then you know when you are going to a steep…you have no breaks, so it (vehicle) gained momentum and there are so many curves, so the driver couldn’t negotiate the curves and that’s how the accident occurred,”
explained Fr Chishimba.
“I am told the accident happened as they were approaching Lunzua River.”
And in a statement today, RTSA head of public relations Frederick Mubanga expressed the agency’s concern over the levels of disregard to road traffic regulations among motorists.
He stated that the continued disregard of road traffic rules and regulations was resulting in fatal accidents that were preventable as seen from the Mbala accident which happened as a result of speeding and use of a goods vehicle to carry passengers.
“Seventeen people died on the spot around 01:30 hours on the Mbala-Mpulungu road at a place called Kasimango Village. Involved is an Isuzu Forward ACK 5871, which was being driven by Light Silwimba. The accident happened after the driver failed to negotiate a curve due to excessive speeding. There were 62 passengers on board, 17 died on the spot, 42 seriously injured and three escaped unhurt. The passengers are Catholic Church members who were going to Mpulungu for a Church service from Senga Hill,” stated Mubanga.
“RTSA is calling upon all road users to ensure that only vehicles that are certified and authorised to carry passengers are used for ferrying passengers from one point to the other. The Agency is saddened by the loss of lives and joins the rest of the nation in mourning the deceased.”