Uganda Police Arrest Mechanic
Jul. 20, 2002
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KASESE, Uganda (AP) _ Ugandan police have arrested the mechanic of the fuel truck whose trailer crashed into a bus and burst into flames, killing at least 60 people, a security official said Saturday.
Stephen Katesigwa of the Internal Security Organization said police are also searching for the driver of the tanker who escaped from the scene seconds before the fatal explosion.
``The mechanic says that the driver was not killed and was hiding in the banana fields near the accident scene. We are still looking for him, but we believe he managed to escape in the confusion that followed the explosion,'' Katesigwa said.
The detained mechanic said that the truck's brakes failed as it was coming down a hill near Rutoto, 180 miles west of Kampala, Katesigwa said. The truck rolled for at least a mile, gaining speed, until the driver lost control on a sharp turn and the trailer smashed into the oncoming bus, he said. It was carrying kerosene.
``The bus overturned on impact, falling on its only door and sealing the fate of passengers,'' Katesigwa told The Associated Press. ``In the few seconds before the explosion, the driver and mechanic got off the truck and fled the scene in fear of being lynched by residents running toward the site.''
Two U.N. peacekeepers from India were killed in the accident.
A senior U.N. official on Saturday visited the accident site as thousands of mourning relatives and residents of this border town gathered on a grassy field to watch Red Cross workers prepare to bury the charred bodies of 59 people and six partial remains removed from the wreckage.