At least 16 pupils from St. Joseph’s Girls High School in Mazabuka district have been injured and are battling for their lives in Mazabuka District hospital following a road traffic accident last night.
The accident occurred when the vehicle they were in collided head on with another on the Magoye-Chivuna Road.
The pupils were travelling from Monze, where they had gone to attend a Christian fellowship meeting at Monze high school.
Mazabuka District Hospital Administrator, John Zimba, who confirmed the development to ZANIS in Mazabuka today said 28 pupils were last night attended to by health workers and that 12 were discharged after been treated at the out patient department.
He also revealed that hospital staff last night treated and discharged a mother and her child from the other vehicle which was involved in the same accident.
Police have since arrested the teacher, who was driving the van that was transporting pupils, and charged him with dangerous driving and over loading.
Police traffic officers told ZANIS that preliminary investigations indicate that the accident happenned because the driver of the van carrying the pupils was driving on the right lane hence the collision.
School headteacher Sister Rosalia Sakayombo said the school only sanctioned 18 pupils to travel to Monze for the Young Christian Student celebration, hence wondered why more pupils travelled for the function.
Sr Sakayombo also said the van which was used to transport the pupils was hired from the teacher because the school truck was committed to other school programmes.
Mazabuka Mayor, Shaderick Mwiinga, who rushed to the hospital, described the accident as bad.
Mr Mwiinga said school authorities should endeavour to abide by government instructions to stop transporting pupils using vans or trucks to avoid risking the lives of children.
He has since challenged the Parents Teachers Association at the school to consider buying a school bus to secure transportation of pupils for various programmes.