6 killed as matatu plunges into dam

Wit­nesses said the ve­hi­cle veered off the road as it headed to the city and plunged into dam

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - National News - BY NYABOGA KIAGE

nyabo­gaki­age@gmail.com

At least six peo­ple died af­ter a 14-seater matatu they were trav­el­ling in plunged into a dam on Mon­day night.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened at Clay Works on the Thika Su­per­high­way.

By yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, it was not clear how many bod­ies were still trapped in the wa­ter as the res­cue mis­sion was on­go­ing. How­ever, res­cuers told the

they could see more bod­ies in the dam.

Wit­nesses said the matatu veered off the road as it headed to the city.

Mr Peter­son Waruru, a survivor, said he was seated near the door and it was hard for him to open it and swim to safety.

“I tried to open the door but couldn’t … How­ever, I man­aged to get out through the win­dow and swam to the shore,” said Mr Waruru.

He said the matatu had 10 pas­sen­gers.

Lo­cals said three bod­ies were re­cov­ered im­me­di­ately af­ter the ac­ci­dent. The matatu was also re­trieved from the dam.

“The res­cue mis­sion started last night and we had to stop un­til to­day be­cause it was get­ting late,” said Mr Jus­tus Warui, a lo­cal.

He said by that time only Mr Waruru had man­aged to come out of the dam alive.

By the time of go­ing to press, res­i­dents were still gath­ered at the scene as they cheered when­ever res­cuers re­trieved a body.

Some watched in shock while oth­ers took pic­tures and videos us­ing their mo­bile phones.

The ac­ci­dent saw an­gry lo­cals and matatu op­er­a­tors bar­ri­cade the busy Thika Su­per­high­way as they de­manded that a fence be erected around the dam.

The demon­stra­tors would at times carry the re­trieved bod­ies and place them in the mid­dle of the road.

Po­lice were forced to use tear­gas can­is­ters to dis­perse the demon­stra­tors who had paral­ysed trans­port along the high­way for four hours. “We want the Kenya National High­ways Au­thor­ity to put up a fence around the dam be­cause it is turn­ing out to be a death trap,” said Ms Jane Ki­motho, a lo­cal.

Mr Caleb Mo­tari, a stu­dent at the United States International Univer­sity, said he was forced to walk to col­lege be­cause of the heavy traf­fic snarl-up.

He said matatu op­er­a­tors took ad­van­tage to raise fares. “I de­cided to walk to school due to the heavy traf­fic jam be­tween Ka­hawa and Roysambu,” he said.

Res­i­dents said many lives have pre­vi­ously been lost at the dam.

“Many chil­dren have died in this dam and we want the author­i­ties to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion,” said Ms Su­san Atieno, a lo­cal.

Two weeks ago, she said, a man died af­ter he slipped into the dam while hav­ing a bath at the shore.

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