AT least 15 people died and nine others sustained serious injuries after a lorry they were travelling in veered off the road and overturned.
The accident that involved a Fuso Lorry from Sumbawanga Town to Wampembe village along Lake Tanganyika's shoreline in Rukwa Region's Nkasi District is described as the most horrific in the region.
Rukwa Regional Commissioner (RC) Zelothe Steven, accompanied by Security and Defence Committee, rushed to the accident scene early yesterday.
Nkasi District Commissioner (DC) Said Mtanda also visited the area. Mr Mtanda confirmed the accident, saying it occurred on Tuesday at around 3pm, involving the Fuso vehicle that was loaded with cargo and 24 passengers.
"The ill fated Fuso that had 24 passengers and cargo on board was heading to Wampembe Village from Sumbawanga Town ... when it reached 'mbuga nyeupe' area, the driver lost control while descending the steep mountain," stated the DC.
He said 12 people died on the spot, with three others dying as they were receiving treatment at the Rukwa Regional Referral Hospital in Sumbawanga.
Mr Mtanda further explained that the driver of the ill fated lorry whose identity has not yet been established fled shortly after the accident. It was his maiden trip on the road passing through the steep escarpment with zigzag corners.
The Lorry with registration numbers T 425 BFF belongs to Bakari Ally Kessy, a son of Nkasi North Constituency Ally Kessy (CCM).
"The bodies of the deceased have been preserved at Mvimwa health facility," said DC Mtanda, adding that the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF)'s vehicle had ferried the six bodies of the deceased to Mvimwa health facility.
He promised the bereaved families that the government will foot transportation and burial costs. According to Rukwa Regional Police Commander (RPC) George Kyando, the deceased include ten women and five men.
They have been identified as Domona Tenganamba (41), Emmanuel Rashid (84), Resttuta Sunga (35), Salula Revana (64), Felisia Tenganamba (1), Prisca Madeni (45), Richard Chikwangara (24), a primary school teacher, Yusta Somamabuto (36), Grace Ramadhan (24), Odetha Madirisha (46), Megi Nalunguli (52), Abdul Amani (37), Nyandindi Batrahamu (35), Magreth Mbalamwezi (50) and a two-week old boy.
The injured are Dimas Clement (26), Sema Savery (25), Allu Haruna (33), Yusta Mfundwima (50), Tenesfory Oscar (36), Amos Ktambale (25), Neema Mwanandenje (21), Joseph Sungura (28) and a woman whose names were not established.
Meanwhile, President John Magufuli yesterday sent condolences to RC Stephen and the bereaved families following the 15 deaths. He prayed for deceased to get eternal life and prayed for quick recovery of all casualties.