Arusha. Questions are being raised over the ill-fated Coaster bus which was yesterday involved in a deadly accident which claimed the lives of 36 pupils and teachers.
Reports from Karatu said the mini-bus may not have belonged to the St Lucky Vincent English-Medium School but had been hired to transport the children from Arusha on a study tour.
A government official speaking on condition of anonymity from the crash site told The Citizen on Sunday last night that he had been informed that the vehicle was hired and did not belong to the institution as were the other two in the convoy.
“The two other Coasters had yellowish paint and the school name printed on them. But this one did not. I guess it has been hired to ferry the pupils,” he said.
He added that the driver of the ill-fated vehicle may have not been familiar with the road, insisting that that may have been the main cause of the crash which has left many people questioning the safety of children using school buses.
“This accident has much to do with the knowledge of the road by the driver. There is a slight slope and a corner which needs care while descending the Rhotia Hills,” he said. The vehicle was driven by one Dismas Kessy, 28, who is among those who were killed in the accident. The figure had been raised from 32 earlier confirmed by the regional police commander Charles Mkumbo at 3pm.
According to him, three pupils survived the horrific accident and were taken to hospitals in Arusha in critical condition.
The owner of the academy, Mr Innocent Moshi, did not discuss the safety conditions of the vehicles ferrying school children but said he was in Arusha since early in the day.
He added that he established the institution in 2006 as a primary and nursery school and that he was at a loss over the tragedy which has left him and his management in great shock.
Several residents of Arusha, a city whose roads are dotted with mini buses belonging to a host of private academies, were in shock, with some calling for deliberate efforts to ensure safety of school children.
“This is a big tragedy to the country. There should be specific traffic rules for school buses in order to safeguard our children,” said a resident of Njiro, Mr Simon Mapolu when reached over the phone.
For his part, Mr David Frank of Sanawari said: “We have lost a young generation. We have lost our future leaders. This is a tragedy for our country. We should make our roads safer for our children”.
The names of some of the children who perished in the accident include Mteage Amos, Justine Alex, Irene Kishari, Gladness Godluck, Praise Roland, Shedrack Biketh, Junior Mwashuya, Aisha Saidi, Oumlight Heri Rashid, Gema Gerald, Rebecca Daudi and Hagai Lucas. Others are Sada Ally, Ruth Ndemna, Mussa Kassim, Neema Eliwahi, Greyson Massawe, Witness Mosses, Hevenight Enock, Ian Tarimo, Anold Alex, Naomi Hosea, Rukia Altani and Eliapenda Eliudi. Yet others are Marion Mrema, Rehema Msuya, Sabrina Said, Prisca Charles and Neema Martin