More than 30 killed as gas truck rams into ve­hi­cles on high­way

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Naivasha, Kenya

A run­away truck car­ry­ing volatile gas slammed into other ve­hi­cles and burst into flames on a ma­jor road in Kenya, killing at least 33 peo­ple and in­jur­ing 10, of­fi­cials said on Sunday.

The truck lost con­trol while go­ing down­hill on the road from the cap­i­tal, Nairobi, to Naivasha late Saturday, said Mwachi Pius Ma­sai, the deputy di­rec­tor and com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer for the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Unit.

“This is a se­ri­ous chem­i­cal in­ci­dent,” Ma­sai said. “Po­lice and other res­cuers are still on the scene ... clear­ing de­bris.”

He said the death toll could rise. Po­lice said at least 10 peo­ple were in­jured.

Eleven ve­hi­cles were burned and con­tin­ued to smol­der. The ground around the crash site was scorched. Res­i­dents stood around look­ing dazed, with some tak­ing pho­tos or self­ies with their phones.

“The lorry was in high speed and lost con­trol af­ter hit­ting speed bumps an end- ed up ram­ming into on­com­ing cars,” said wit­ness Peter Ki­mani.

Kenyan Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta is­sued a state­ment call­ing the in­ci­dent a “a griz­zly and un­nec­es­sary ac­ci­dent. The tanker re­spon­si­ble for the deaths should not have been on that par­tic­u­lar road at that hour.”

The pres­i­dent urged “the agen­cies re­spon­si­ble for en­forc­ing traf­fic reg­u­la­tion to fully in­ves­ti­gate this tragic breach.”

Keny­atta said that 11 of those killed were of­fi­cers from the Gen­eral Service Unit who pro­vide VIP pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing to the pres­i­dent.

Kenya has strug­gled to re­duce the ris­ing num­ber of road ac­ci­dents as more peo­ple ac­quire ve­hi­cles in the coun­try’s grow­ing mid­dle class. In 2013, the gov­ern­ment re-in­tro­duced breath­a­lyz­ers to limit ac­ci­dents blamed on drunk driv­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Trans­port and Safety Author­ity 1,574 died in road ac­ci­dents in the first half of this year, 86 more deaths than in the same pe­riod last year.

THOMAS MUKOYA / REUTERS

Peo­ple look at the wreck­age of cars burnt af­ter a fire­ball from a tanker en­gulfed sev­eral ve­hi­cles and killed sev­eral peo­ple, near Naivasha, Kenya, on Sunday.

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