Trio of Elephants Killed in 55 MPH Bus Crash After Being 'Hit at Once'

A bus in Zimbabwe reportedly hit three elephants, killing them on the spot, after the driver swerved to save another herd of elephants.

The bus, according to ZimEye, was traveling to Victoria Falls from Hawange on Saturday morning. All 18 passengers and the bus crew were left uninjured by the incident. A town and national park share the name Victoria Falls and it's unclear whether the accident occurred en route to the town or the national park.

According to reports, the bus driver swerved left to avoid hitting a first group of elephants on the road, but was unable to avoid subsequently hitting the trio that perished.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident in a tweet, writing: "It is unfortunate that three elephants were killed in an accident with a CAG bus about 45 km before Victoria Falls."

Farawo told ZimEye that the cause of the accident was not yet known. "Fortunately no human casualty was reported, but those three elephants died," he said.

The bus driver told ZimEye that the trio of elephants were in the middle of the road and turned their backs to the bus before being hit. "I suddenly saw the elephants and applied breaks while swerving to the left. There were three groups so I avoided the first, I saw another herd ahead," he said.

"The three were in the middle of the road and suddenly they turned at once, giving their back to the bus and they were hit at once."

The driver was able to control the bus and avoided crashing into any trees, before stopping it around 50 meters from the carcasses. A witness said that the bus was driving at around 90 kph (55 mph).

In Zimbabwe, the elephant population has reportedly become an issue, with the country unable to host growing numbers.

It's estimated that the population is more than 100,000, the second-highest in the world, thanks to dedicated conservation measures.

According to conservationists, as per Brookings, the population is more than double the country's ecological carrying capacity with an estimated annual growth rate of five percent.

Victoria Falls plays host to a "vital" conservation program called The Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage and the accident occurred in a "wildlife marked zone."

Villagers living near the incident were later allowed to take home elephant meat from the accident scene, according to ZimEye. Residents arrived from nearby villages Masikili and Mbizha, as well as Lupinyu, Chikandakubi, Chenamisa and Victoria Falls City.

Elephant in road
Stock image of an elephant walking across a road. A bus in Zimbabwe reportedly hit three elephants, killing them on the spot, after the driver swerved to save another herd of elephants. Getty Images