Arusha — THREE Standard VII survivors of Lucky Vincent Primary School bus accident return home today from the US as their fate in the national examinations hangs in balance.
The Rhotia Hill accident in Karatu district last May claimed 35 lives. Speaking on behalf of doctors and teachers, Singida North Member of Parliament Lazaro Nyalandu who coordinated the mission to the United States said it was decided the exam issue be sorted out after the trio had arrived in the country.
A former Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Nyarandu said the students -- Doreen Mshana, Saida Ismail and Wilson Tarimo, who had been undergoing rehabilitation at Mercy Hospital will be looked at on several factors, one being their psychological status, before deciding on their exams.
He said while in the US, the students received tuitions and were issued with several books from Tanzania but said it was important to note that they spent a lot of time in physiotherapies. "As you know, they were in the US for physical therapy but also had time to get tuition and had enough books at their disposal.
Stakeholders, including their doctors and teachers discussed the issue of national exams and if they will be ready for it. But, we decided against making any conclusion pending a psychological assessment at home and after visiting their school for the first time since the tragedy," said Mr Nyalandu.
The students are expected at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) at 0900hrs today. The team managed to secure the same DC 8 plane from Samaritan Purse, an organisation run by the family of a Southern Baptist minister, Billy Graham.
Upon arrival, there will be festivities and the children, accompanied by their doctors and parents, will head to Stem Village, a half an hour drive from KIA where they will stay for at least 24 hours.
Mr Nyalandu said the survivors had over 30 fractures, hinting that Doreen who endured great pains on her backbone had to be taken for extra medication and exercise at Roland Madonna House in Sioux City LA.
The victim was offered free medical treatment at the Centre where a patient pays at least 50,000 US dollars (over 100m/- upon registration. He said there would be several specialists in Tanzania from the US, with some having jetted in the country already.
There will also be two rescuers -- Jenifer and Calvin. Along with Dr Steve Meyer, who led the surgeries, the foreign doctors were on their way from Ngorongoro and became the first to arrive at the accident scene.