A WOMAN sustained serious head injuries after she jumped through a window of a moving commuter omnibus and fell headlong on the tarmac in Bulawayo yesterday.
Five others, including the driver, also escaped with varying degrees of injuries from the vehicle that had caught fire along Khami Road opposite Bulawayo City Council stores at around 9AM as it was heading towards New Magwegwe.
The woman panicked when she noticed the fire and jumped through the window with her baby. She sustained serious head injuries while the baby was not injured.
The cause of the fire could not be established immediately, but there are suspicions that petrol was leaking from the vehicle.
Bulawayo chief fire officer Mr Richard Peterson said they rescued six people including an 11-year-old boy.
All the injured people were rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital.
I can confirm that we received a report of a kombi which caught fire along Khami Road. Six people including the driver sustained injuries and were taken to Mpilo Central Hospital,” he said.
“One of the passengers, a woman who was carrying a baby, jumped headlong through the window while trying to evacuate herself and sustained serious head injuries.
“We are happy no one died and hope that the woman will make it. Her baby survived the incident with no injuries and that’s a plus,” said Mr Peterson.
“I would like to urge kombi operators to take people’s lives seriously by ensuring that they service their vehicles consistently. I suspect that there was a petrol leakage somewhere in the vehicle which could have been avoided.”
A kombi driver who spoke on condition of anonymity said smoke started coming from the vehicle when it was in motion.
“I was driving and noticed smoke coming out of the kombi. Within a few minutes the smoke was distracting my vision and I had to park my vehicle by the roadside. By the time I got out of my kombi, the other kombi was in flames though the driver managed to escape with some injuries,” he said.
“The Fire and Ambulance Services crew made it on time and they managed to extinguish the fire.”