SCORES of people at bank queue fled in terror when brakes on a bus under the Zupco franchise failed yesterday and the vehicle hurtled towards them in the Bulawayo city centre.
The Nkosana Bus service vehicle free-wheeled in reverse for about 50 meters at around 7AM and crashed into a tree near First Capital Bank, formerly known as Barclays Bank.
It had been parked near the Bulawayo Public Library at corner 8th Avenue and Fort Street.
Emganwini and Nketa Suburbs commuters had just disembarked when the bus rolled down a slope towards the bank.
The bus gained momentum and luckily, the driver avoided other vehicles and pedestrians who scattered in different directions.
Onlookers who appeared to think the bus would careen into the bank screamed in panic but the bus came to a jarring stop against the tree, causing damage to the right back side of the vehicle.
No one was injured in the freak accident.
Mr Tinashe Gumbo from Nketa Suburb who had just dropped off the bus, said he was shocked to see the bus following him.
“I had started moving down the road when I suddenly heard the bus hooting behind me. The bus was moving in reverse until it hit a tree, pulling down the branches” said Mr Gumbo.
A witness who was outside the bank narrated how everyone abandoned the queue and fled to safety.
“I was terrified. I looked back to see the bus coming directly at me. People started running from the queue in different directions and I joined them. The bus was gathering speed as it approached the bank,” said a witness who identified himself as Mr Mandla Mathe
One of the owners of the bus who only identified himself as Nkosana said such incidents are bound to happen on the road and he applauded the driver for maintaining composure.
“It is unfortunate but I am not angry at anyone. In the transport industry such incidents are bound to happen. It is good that the driver managed to control the bus and prevented more serious accidents. We have managed to pull it off and we are now fixing it,” he said.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ndebele confirmed that police attended the scene and said investigations into the cause of the accident were in progress.