Thursday, 28 February 2013

Driver sought after bus rolls and kills 34

Posted  Thursday, February 28  2013 at  00:30

The wreckage of the bus is seen near Mwingi town on the Thika-Garissa highway February 27, 2013. 34 people were killed 50 others were seriously injured in the dawn accident. STEPHEN MUDIARI

Thirty four people died on Wednesday when a bus they were travelling in crashed near Mwingi town on the Thika-Garissa road.More than 30 others were seriously injured and were taken to the Mwingi District Hospital for treatment.The accident occurred at about 3.15am after the Mandera-bound bus lost control and rolled at a bend as it approached Mwingi town, killing 11 passengers on the spot. Twenty-one others were pulled out of the bus wreckage by police and rescuers. Two died while undergoing treatment.Mwingi District Hospital superintendent, Dr Samson Mungane, said the hospital received 34 bodies, although the police put the number at 32.Dr Mungane said that 35 people were treated at the hospital and another four were referred to the Aga khan University Hospital in Nairobi.Survivors who spoke to the Nation said that the bus known as Modern Desert Cruiser had extra passengers who stood throughout the journey, heading home to vote.All the youths who perished were Muslim and were buried later in the day at the Mwingi Muslim Cemetery.Mr Ahmed Mohammed Bule, a student at the United States International University, last spoke with his brother Faruk Ali Mohammed Bule on Tuesday night before he embarked on the journey. He would never see his brother alive again.“This is sad to the family. I had to travel all the way from Nairobi to come and witness the burial,” Mr Ahmed said.
And speaking through a translator from his hospital bed, Abdirashid Issack said the bus was speeding when the brakes failed as the bus approached a sharp corner.According to Ahmed Hassan, one of the passengers who escaped with slight injuries, the bus whose carrying capacity is 60 passengers, left Nairobi at 1am with more than 80 passengers on board.Mr Hassan said the bus driver who escaped after the accident, lost control while negotiating a sharp corner just past Mbondoni market. The bus veered off the road, hit a huge rock and rolled two times. Its front tyres and the roof were ripped off by the impact.Blood stains and personal effects littered the scene.“I saw the driver jump from his seat running towards the passengers screaming. In a matter of seconds, the bus hit a huge rock then rolled two times before landing on its roof. Some of the standing passengers were hauled out of the vehicle” Mr Hassan said.According to the Kenya Red Cross, two of the injured passengers were in a coma while 17 others had broken limbs.At 8am, some of the dead and injured passengers were still trapped in the vehicle as police mobilised tractors to lift and pull away the wreckage.
Mwingi OCPD Kipkemboi Birir, who led the rescue operation, said that among the dead were 28 men, three women and a young girl. “It is one of the worst accidents along Mwingi-Garissa road in recent times. It is obvious that the bus was overloaded with more than 80 passengers on board,” Mr Birir said.The OCPD said the circumstances of the accident were not clear, but suspected that the driver fell asleep before losing control of the bus.

“The bus driver sustained slight injuries but fled from the scene. We are looking for him to shed more light on the circumstances that led to this grisly accident,” Mr Birir said.Police had a difficult time controlling a huge crowd that swamped the accident scene.Defence assistant minister David Musila cut short his senatorial campaigns and rushed to the scene to help with rescue efforts and console the bereaved families.“It is disheartening to lose such a big number of people in a road accident. The traffic police should strictly enhance traffic rules to curb the carnage,” Mr Musila said.Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka sent condolences to the friends and relatives of the victims.Last year, another bus from the same company rolled at Mutwang’ombe area, also on the Mwingi-Garissa road, killing 13 people on the spot and injuring scores of others.

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