Lucky Vincent School has suspended classes amid reports that the driver of the ill-fated school bus was speeding to compensate for the time lost with the traffic police.
Traffic Police at Makuyuni junction, suspecting the bus to have been overloaded, reportedly stopped the school vehicle that was later involved in the grisly accident, killing 32 Standard seven pupils, two teachers and the driver on Saturday morning.
The newly bought minibus was not yet marked with the school name or logo, compelling the driver to present lengthy explanations to convince the police that the van belonged to the school and was taking pupils for examinations in Karatu.
Having been delayed, the bus was left behind by other school buses, prompting the driver to speed up to reach Karatu on time despite the lost time. The students were on their way to write the Inter- School mock examinations at Tumaini Junior Primary School in Karatu.
A day before the tragedy, the school owner is reported to have spent some good time with the pupils. Speaking for the first time since the catastrophe, Lucky Vincent Nursery and Primary School owner and director Innocent Mushi, spoke of how he had coached the pupils on the exams.
“I spent the evening with the pupils as they were preparing for the inter-school mock examinations at Tumaini Junior Primary School in Karatu on Saturday,” said Mr Mushi, adding that even before Saturday exams, he had the tradition of coaching the children every evening.
“I cannot speak further...my heart is heavy, this is the worst thing to have ever happened to my life, those children were the candidates in the forthcoming National Examinations in September,” he lamented. The school management has suspended academic activities at the school, following the tragedy.
The ill-fated bus reportedly departed from Arusha City at around 12.30 am heading to Karatu where the pupils were to participate in the inter-school mock examinations with their Tumaini Primary School counterparts of Karatu District.
After the mock tests, the pupils, all candidates for the 2017 National Examinations for Primary Schools were penciled to have an excursion into the Ngorongoro Crater.Rescuers and eyewitnesses, who arrived first at the scene of the horrendous Saturday morning accident, found all pupils and teachers who died in the crash stacked together in the front section of the bus. Speculations were viral yesterday from people gathered at the Regional Mount Meru Hospital here that the death toll had reached 36.
It however turned out that, the victim suspected to have died had simply fainted. But, two school pupils, Sadiel Ismail and Wilson Tarimo, who survived the crash are meanwhile under Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Mount Meru hospital.
As preparations for the deceased’s communal mass continued here yesterday, wananchi and government institutions retrieved the ill-fated Mitsubishi Rosa Minibus, with registration number T-871 BYS, out of the deep River Malera Ravine, in Rhotia area, some 150 kilometres from Arusha City.
Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan is already in Arusha to lead the communal mass at Sheikh Amri Abeid where she will be accompanied by Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, George Simbachawene and Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Minister Professor Joyce Ndalichako. Arusha District Commissioner Fabian Daqarro said the mass, which was initially scheduled for Sunday, will now take place today at the stadium.
He said the government is funding the mass, transportation and burial costs for all the victims. The names of deceased as displayed on the notice board are Mteage Amos, Justine Alex, Irene Kishari, Praise Ronald, Shadrack Biketh, Junior Mwashuya, Aisha Saidi, Heri Rashid, Gema Gerald, Rebecca Daudi, Hagai Lucas, Sada Ally, Lucy Ndemna, Mussa Kasim and Neema Martin.
Others are Witness Mosses, Rukia Khalfani, Naomi Hosea, Hevenight Hosea, Eliapanda Eliudi, Anorld Alex, Marion Mrema, Rehema Msuya, Sabrina Said, Prisca Charles, Grayson Robson Massawe, Witness Mosses, Lara Tarimo and Neema Eliwahi.