At least eight people have died and 45 others sustained serious injuries after the bus they were travelling in overturned several times along Pakwach-Karuma road.
The KKT bus was travelling on Friday night from Koboko to Kampala. At the scene, at Got Apwoyo, there were charred bodies of dead passengers stuck in the wreckage. It took about two hours to remove the bodies.
Rescuers had to use machetes and axes to cut some parts of the bus to remove the injured. An eye witness, who only identified himself as Ali, said several passengers were stuck in the windscreens and had to be pulled out by fellow passengers who got minor injuries.
“It was bad to witness such and the memory is haunting because women and children were just wailing in pain as people were all confused. The ambulance at Pakwach alone could not help much until the ones from Arua and Nebbi hospitals arrived,” Ali said.
“We were right behind them in another bus and we just heard a loud sound and eventual crashing of the bus. Then shortly after, as we reached them we found the bus overturned, with tyres facing up.”
Several passengers sustained broken legs, arms and head injuries. Many of the injured are receiving treatment at Pakwach, Nebbi and Arua hospitals. The dead have not yet been identified.
Nebbi District Police Commander Maxwell Ogwal said the accident occurred when the bus knocked an elephant that was crossing in Murchison National Park. “The driver was at high speed so he could not control the bus when the elephant suddenly tried to cross the road. But this is a terrible accident and drivers should be extra careful in the park,” he said.
The long stretch from Pakwach to Karuma is known for accidents, especially caused by animals crossing the road at night. There is little control over the movement of the animals in the park even during day time.
The General Manager for KKT, Mr Joseph Mobutu, said they were making arrangements to cater for the treatment of the injured. “It is unfortunate to lose passengers in such an accident but we are working with the police to identify the dead for any compensation. While those injured and receiving treatment in the hospitals are to be catered for by us,” he said.