Memories of the January 27 road accident in Dschang, West Region of Cameroon remain fresh in the minds of many. 53 persons were roasted to death after a bus collided with a truck transporting illicit fuel, leading t an explosion.
The death toll later rose to 55, with other survivors still in the hospital.
New revelations are now coming to light, as the driver of the bus, Pierre Rene Kana has spoken out, giving his own account of the story.
Talking to Mutations newspaper, he said it all happened so fast.
He however debunked reports of overcrowding, noting that he was stopped at a control point shortly before the accident.
“We had a check at the entrance to the town of Santchou. One of the gendarmes did indeed enter the bus to verify the identities of the passengers and also to observe a possible case of overload…” he explained.
“… If there was overload he wouldn’t let us go from there,” he reiterated.
He further narrated that after passing through the town of Santchou, “we had not driven three miles from the start of the hill when I saw a truck coming down at full speed with full headlights on”.
“The truck had already left the right side of the road and was driving on our side. The bus could not easily be maneuvered on the hill to dodge the truck. I was driving slowly up while the truck was descending at high speed. That is how the truck hit the bus… What surprised me was that before the impact, there was a huge fire,” he added.
After breaking the windscreen and crawling out of the bus, Pierre Rene Kana said he managed to get out of the vehicle and began to help other people out of the vehicle which was already on fire, but later felt numb in his legs.
He would later be rushed to the hospital alongside other survivors. Though lucky as compared to the 55 lives lost, Pierre says he has not been the same mentally since then.
“I have difficulty sleeping. Every time I get a moment’s sleep, I relive this scene. It is like this accident is happening right now. It is a constant nightmare,” he stated.