The Soreze accident of the 3rd May of 2013 is still being debated. The case was presented in court yesterday (14.07.14). The Chief Investigator of the bus company seems to be blaming the driver for having behaved irresponsibly.
The Soreze Blue Line bus accident will remain etched in our memory, as long as this world persists. It is one of the most tragic accidents having occurred in Mauritius. The bus was a Blueline from the National Transport Corporation (NTC), and since then, people have become even more ‘suspicious’ of NTC buses, as this accident was on the tongue of every Mauritian and during the same period of time, many other incidents had happened with NTC buses. While this remains a sensitive issue for those who were directly affected by the accident, some have even, unwisely so, made internet memes to describe the situation.
The driver of the bus, Deepchand Gunness, was hailed as a hero because of the maneuver he adopted to save the passengers of the bus. While most of them were saved, Deepchand died on the spot. Since the 3rd of May 2013, the day of the accident, investigations were launched to identify the cause of the accident. Engineers of the NTC were out to find the reason that led to the bus crash. Finally, more than a year later, they have come up with an answer which was presented in court on the 14th of July 2014. From what has been reported, it is being suggested that the blame is upon the shoulders of Deepchand Gunness, the dead driver – the one who is said to have died a hero.
Cause of the Accident
The Chief Engineer of the NTC, Gaya Goopeechand, stated that the cause of the accident was a plastic tube called Festo which prevented the brakes from functioning properly, later resulting in the accident. According to the investigators, Deepchand Gunness had as responsibility to verify whether the braking system had any air leaks before taking the bus to the roads – a responsibility of his as he was the driver. The Chief Engineer claimed that the driver could have checked for the leaks by listening carefully to the sound of air leaking. Another issue pointed out was that the driver did not use the handbrake. The handbrake is used in emergency cases: why was it not used?
Deepchand Gunness had previously reported an accident which, according to him, had occurred because of an air leak. That was back in 2012: on the 14th of December 2012. However, Gaya Goopeechand argues that it never was an air leak that had caused the accident, adding further that the accident occurred on the 13th of December while the driver only reported it a day later, which is contradictory to the policy of the company…
The Secretary and Administrative Manager of the NTC, Ahmad Mallam-Hassam, and the Depot Manager, Ram Brizmohum, also testified in court. They affirmed that they never had any complaints regarding the driving skills of Deepchand Gunness. The Traffic Officer of the NTC, Ashvin Ramdhony, highlighted the fact that the NTC only allows very experienced drivers to drive buses like the Blueline.
Others from the bus company will be called to testify in the coming days.
Was Deepchand Gunness a hero, or not? Did he leave out part of his responsibility by not checking for air leaks? Can he be held responsible for this? Either way, he did do his best to save the passengers, didn’t he?