Gweru (New Ziana) -Two bodies were on Monday retrieved from an Isuzu double cab vehicle which was swept away by water at the narrow Gweru River bridge along Matobo Road just outside Ascot high density suburb.
The vehicle was allegedly swept away in the early hours of Sunday after the driver tried to cross the flooded Gweru River.
It took almost four hours for teams from the Gweru Fire Brigade, the police and a private company, Truck Doctor, to retrieve the vehicle and two bodies.
Gweru Civil Protection chairperson Joram Chimedza said the Gweru City Council had to hire a private company to retrieve the bodies and the wreckage of the vehicle.
“Workers on the ground retrieved the bodies of two male adults and in terms of the other suspected missing persons we have to wait until the sub aqua unit comes to do searches to verify the exact number of people that could have been swept away in this incident,” he said.
“I want to believe that as soon as the sub-aqua unit is through with operations in Runde River they will come to do the searches by the end of the day today,” he added.
Chimedza defended the civil protection unit’s state of preparedness saying the accident required the police sub aqua unit.
“The incident that has visited Gweru is a specialised service that is needed and it is the sub-aqua unit that handles such disasters,” he said.
Midlands Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said rescue efforts had taken the whole of yesterday with rescuers failing to locate the vehicle.
Mahoko said from accounts of passersby, it is believed the people in the vehicle were six.
“We are informed that these people were six, and when they got to the river, three disembarked from the vehicle to assess if it was passable. It is said three others remained in the vehicle and when the other three returned they decided to proceed and this is where the assumption that these people were six,” he said.
“We have retrieved two, which means four others are still to be rescued,” he said.
Mahoko appealed to the public not to cross flooded rivers.
“It is dangerous to cross flooded rivers whether by wading with their feet or crossing with vehicles.
“It is advisable to wait until the rivers have subsided,” he said.
Mahoko said rescue efforts had been hampered by the river’s water levels and the vehicle which was submerged in water could not be located.
The police was still to get the names of the deceased.