Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
APOSTOLIC Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) leader Bishop Johannes Ndanga and a colleague spent six hours perched on a tree in the crocodile-infested Bubi-Lupane Dam after a vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and plunged into the water body.
Bishop Ndanga (58) yesterday said he was travelling to Janke village in Lupane for an all night church service when the accident occurred at around 9PM on Saturday.
He said his colleague, Mr Nkululeko Nyoni (55), who was driving a gold Toyota Hilux, saw a huge animal on the road and lost control of the vehicle.
“I’m not sure what kind of animal it was. He tried to avoid hitting it and veered off road into the dam. The car was completely submerged,” said Bishop Ndanga.
He said the two of them had to smash windows and swim to the surface.
“We climbed a tree in the dam as we feared being eaten by crocodiles,” said Bishop Ndanga.
He said he was traumatised by the “near death” experience.
“We were actually travelling to Victoria Falls for preparations for an International Church Conference that will be held in November. We intended to put up at Janke where one of our churches were holding all night prayers and unfortunately this is how things ended.
“We only managed to make a few calls with one cellphone before it switched off and others got damaged in the car. We stayed on the tree until 3AM when we became tired and risked our lives by getting off the tree.
“We managed to swim out of the dam and went to a nearby homestead where we waited a few minutes before we got help,” Bishop Ndanga said.
The pair was assisted by a team from Kusile Rural District Council (KRDC) and District Development Fund (DDF) at around 3AM and tractors were used to pull out their vehicle.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the accident that occurred about 30KM before Lupane Business Centre.
She said the pair was not injured but lost their valuables, cash and documents after everything got soaked in the dam.
“I can confirm we received a report of a Toyota Hilux which fell into a dam in Lupane on Saturday night. No injuries were reported but the pair stayed on top of a tree from 9PM to around 3AM,” she said.
Kusile RDC chief executive officer Mr Christopher Tshuma said they received phone calls that two people had been involved in an accident and were appealing for tractors to rescue them.
“We released a tractor from our council and they arrived at the scene at around 3AM and pulled out their vehicle,” he said.
Mr Tshuma said the duo was lucky not to have been devoured by crocodiles in the dam.—@winnie_masara