November 16, 2018 / 10:19 AM / a month ago

At least 42 feared dead as flames gut bus in Zimbabwe

HARARE (Reuters) - At least 42 people were feared dead after flames swept through a passenger bus driving through southern Zimbabwe towards South Africa overnight, state media said.

Many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition and more than 20 survivors were taken to hospital, the Zimbabwe Red Cross said.

Photographs showed the bus’s gutted shell on the side of a road in Gwanda district, about 550km south of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.

Police said there had been a leak in a gas canister being carried on the bus, state broadcaster ZBC reported.

The force gave no immediate comment on what triggered the blaze, which erupted around midnight, Thursday into Friday, as the bus traveled from the city of Bulawayo to the South African border town of Musina.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was devastated by the tragedy, which took place just over a week after 50 people died when two buses collided east of the capital.

“I urge all my fellow citizens to be extra cautious on the roads - check the safety of your vehicles, slow down, put safety first,” he said on Twitter.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens

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