Sixty passengers who were travelling from Mzuzu to Karonga on Axa Bus registration number Axa 28, Thursday narrowly escaped death after the bus crashed into a rocky wall in Chiweta hills in Rumphi district.
Chiweta, a mountainous area in Rumphi where Malawi’s backbone M1 Road passes through is known for its scarily sharp bends most of which are between the mountains and Lake Malawi.
According to Rumphi Police Spokesperson, Victor Khamisi, the occurred at around 12:30PM, when the bus driver failed to negotiate a sharp bend and lost control of the bus which eventually rammed into the wall of the Chiweta Mountains at an area called Bale.
“The bus was actually in high speed when it crashed but fortunately, there were no serious injuries among the passengers,” explained Khamisi.
But the driver of the bus, Nelson Kumwenda, 72, whom Malawi News Agency (Mana) crew found at the scene at around 5PM on the material day, said the bus had developed a fault on its braking system and, caught between the rocky wall on one side, and the steep slope which lead into the lake on the other, he resolved to crash the bus into the wall.
“It was a tough situation and I had to think fast,” explained Kumwenda, who had still not yet recovered from the shock. “The brakes could not apply and I managed to negotiate three bends with the passengers crying and shouting before I rammed the bus into the wall.”
The driver said he was not one hundred percent sure that the decision he had made would be less catastrophic but he said he was most certain that any option other than that would be more disastrous.
“I thank God that there haven’t been any serious injuries and this is quite a miracle,” said the driver, who was then waiting for a vehicle from his Mzuzu office to come and pick him up from the scene.
According to the driver, the passengers were later picked up by a National Bus to Karonga but he could not specify whether it was by arrangement and as to whether they were taken to hospital or not.
Kumwenda hails from Maviambewa Village in the area of Traditional Authority Jalavikuwa in Mzimba district, according to Rumphi Police Spokesperson, Khamisi.mana.