A truck driver is being hailed as a hero for saving eight lives from a terrible car crash that occurred on Christmas eve.
Photos of a bruised and burned Sirizani Butau appeared on social media on Christmas Day, a day after he heroically saved eight people from a fatal bus crash on a Zimbabwean highway. A passenger bus had collided with a fuel truck resulting in a fiery explosion on the Mutare-Harare Highway in Zimbabwe.
Butau was driving a truck and witnessed the accident. Five people lost their lives, but the death toll would be even higher had Butau not jumped into action.
Butau ran to the burning bus and pulled the passengers to safety. He also attempted to rescue the truck driver involved in the accident, who was a friend.
“The truck that was involved in the accident was being driven by my colleague and friend,” Butau told the Sunday Mail. So I rushed and found him still alive, so I tried to save him because I knew that with time the petrol would catch fire, so when I was trying to retrieve him, that is when it caught fire,” Butau said.
Witnesses at the scene say that Butau tried to to free his friend but that the truck door he tried to open was jammed and the fire was spreading. He was searching for tools to open the door when the truck burst into flames and his friend perished.
Butau suffered third degree burns during the rescue. Twenty people were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a statement that the driver of the bus had 63 passengers on board. “It is claimed that the driver was avoiding a suspected drunk pedestrian resulting in the bus swerving onto the lane of oncoming traffic. As a result, the bus collided with a Freightliner fuel tanker,” Nyathi reported.
After Butau’s heroism became public, he received an outpouring of support, including financial support from many Zimbabweans. His medical costs have been covered and he’s received further donations to cover other expenses.
From his hospital bed, Butau told media outlets he was not “doing it in pursuit of any glory or praise.” Despite that, among the people giving him accolades is President Emmerson Mnangawgwa who tweeted that Butau will be honored for his heroic actions in saving lives.
Let me take this opportunity to appreciate Sirizani Butau who saved people from the Mutare Accident .As government we will honour him for his selfless sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/bb2qU6NvWO
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) December 26, 2021