THERE was an instant loud screeching of tyres, a bang and then . . . silence! It all happened in a short time at around 8pm on Monday when the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) ambulance collided with a truck at Riverside area, along Mandela Road in the city.
Next to the mangled Toyota Land Cruiser were three bloodied bodies of the ambulance driver and two students. Other two, the University Health Centre attendant and another student were seriously injured; they were rushed to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).
However, hours later, the University Health Centre staff was also pronounced dead. Sombre mood engulfed the UDSM community following the sudden demise of fellow staff and students. By yesterday evening, the number of people who perished in the grisly accident had reached four.
Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) Public Relations Officer, Mr Patrick Mvungi, confirmed to have received two seriously injured victims. He said one died few hours later while receiving treatment. He named the wounded as Abishai Nkiko (24), a UDSM student who is still undergoing treatment at MOI and Jonathan Lugando (40), who passed away while at the institute.
Lugando was an attendant at UDSM Health Centre. Earlier yesterday, the UDSM expressed shock and grief following the death of its two staff and two students. Police confirmed that the ambulance hit a speeding truck at Ubungo Riverside in the city.
Kinondoni Regional Police Commander (RPC) Jumanne Mulilo said the ambulance was heading to UDSM main campus from Mabibo hostel. According to the RPC, the ambulance driver was speeding in the opposite lane.
Speaking to the 'Daily News' yesterday, UDSM Students' Organisation (DARUSO), Deputy Minister of Health and Cafeteria, Mr Kodi John, said that the ambulance was heading to UDSM main campus health centre.
"We are shocked and saddened by the death of our colleagues and pray for the one who survived with serious injuries. We are communicating with parents and guardians of the deceased for funeral and burial preparations.
He explained that the ambulance involved in the accident was taking two students who were sick to the UDSM Health Centre while being escorted by another student and an attendant. Mr John identified the other students who died on the spot as Soko Maria Godian (first year), Steven Sango, (second-year) and a driver who was identified by a single name as James.