A Honde Valley family suffered a double tragedy on Tuesday night when a hearse carrying their relative’s body was involved in an accident that left the corpse defaced and bruised.
Caleb Mapaya’s coffin was broken into pieces, leaving the corpse on the ground.
His widow, Cecilia Chingaya-Mapaya who was seated next to the driver of the hearse was thrown out of the vehicle and trapped underneath.
She was rushed to Hauna District Hospital but later died due to the injuries she sustained in the accident.
The accident occurred at the 22-kilometre peg along the Selborne-Aberfoyle Road in Chipupuri Village, Honde Valey.
The Mapayas were travelling to Honde Valley for burial in Harare-based funeral services, Chats Funeral Services, vehicle with two other relatives, Mary Muredzi and Whyson Makina.
Paul Chatadza was driving the vehicle while his assistant, Brian Chidhakwa, was also in the vehicle.
Chatadza reportedly lost control of the Mitsubishi Colt double cab, resulting in the vehicle veering off the road.
Makina, Chatadza and Chidhakwa, as well as Muredzi, sustained injuries and were all admitted at Hauna District Hospital on Tuesday night before being discharged on Wednesday morning.
The driver of the hearse, Chatadza has since been arrested and is assisting the police with investigations.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) acting spokesperson in Manicaland Province, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka, confirmed the incident to The Manica Post. He said:
The corpse was thrown out of the coffin and it landed on the ground. The driver was speeding when he lost control of the vehicle.
We urge motorists to desist from speeding and always adhere to road traffic rules.
Assistant Inspector Chinyoka added that when the vehicle veered off the road, it hit the road embankment and rolled several times, throwing Chingaya-Mapaya and her husband’s coffin out.
The late couple’s son, Tatenda Mapaya, said it was painful to lose both parents in a short space of time, especially under the circumstances. He said:
We were at my father’s funeral wake, only to hear that the hearse had been involved in an accident and that my mother had died too.
I thought they were joking, but this is the sad reality. The pain is just too much, but I guess that is what they both wanted.
Maybe they wanted to be together even in death, but it is really painful.
Mapaya’s aunt, Flora Gandiwa said that they have never experienced such a tragedy in their family. Said Gandiwa:
It is taboo for someone to die while on her way to bury her husband. The fact that the corpse sustained some injuries is scary.
How can a corpse be thrown out of an intact and secured coffin? The funeral service provider should tell us what really happened.
The couple is survived by six children.