Sur­vivors re­call mo­ments be­fore deadly road crash

The ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a Nairo­bi­bound bus and a truck claimed 11 lives



When Mr Eric Mu­ganzi re­ceived an un­ex­pected call at around 3am on Sun­day, be­ing sleepy, he fum­bled with his phone. At the end of the line was his cousin, sound­ing des­per­ate.

“She told me that her sis­ter had been in­volved in a fa­tal ac­ci­dent at Gil­gil, on the Naivasha-nakuru high­way. To­gether with other mem­bers of the African Di­vine Church (ADC), they were com­ing from a burial cer­e­mony,” said the grief-stricken cousin.

Mr Mu­ganzi was at the Gil­gil mor­tu­ary to iden­tify the bod­ies of the church mem­bers and that of his cousin whom he last spoke with on Thurs­day, as she em­barked on the ill-fated jour­ney.

“She asked me to buy her a soda which I did after send­ing her money. That is the last time we spoke,” he said.

At the mor­tu­ary, he was able to iden­tify the bod­ies and was mak­ing plans to ferry them from the Gil­gil mor­tu­ary. “It is so con­gested. I am mak­ing plans to have the bod­ies trans­ferred,” he added.

The five mem­bers of the church were among the 11 peo­ple who died in a road ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a Nairobi bound bus and a truck headed to Nakuru town.

The bus was head­ing to Nairobi from Vi­higa County, while the truck fer­ry­ing stones was headed to Nakuru from Nairobi.

Out­side the mor­tu­ary was 29-yearold Lucy Wan­gui Njoroge who lost her fa­ther in the ac­ci­dent.

“My fa­ther was the bus driver and we last com­mu­ni­cated with him on Sat­ur­day evening at around 8pm. He told us he was on his from Kapsa­bet town be­fore in­quir­ing whether the fam­ily had a meal,” said the griev­ing daugh­ter.

He also in­formed them that he had bought a bunch of ba­nanas in readi­ness for a fam­ily gath­er­ing sched­uled for Tues­day at Limuru, Ki­ambu County. That was the last com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­fore the fam­ily re­ceived news of the ac­ci­dent.

“My fa­ther has been a driver since I was born … he loved his work and was quite ex­pe­ri­enced,” said Ms

Wan­gui, fight­ing back tears.

But it was not all gloom for the fam­ily after one of their rel­a­tives, Mr Isaac Mbugua, who was the bus con­duc­tor, es­caped with mi­nor in­juries. “I blame the truck driver for re­fus­ing to give right of way. As our driver at­tempted to over­take the truck, the driver ac­cel­er­ated, com­pound­ing the dicey sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

But an­other sur­vivor, Mr Amin Hamza, gave a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of the story. “The bus driver was over­tak­ing dan­ger­ously lead­ing to the ac­ci­dent. The truck driver swerved to­wards the left in an at­tempt to avoid a head-on col­li­sion, but it was too late,” said Mr Hamza.

An­other lucky sur­vivor was 72-year-old Ab­sa­lom Gu­lundu who sus­tained a frac­ture on the left leg. He too said the driver was speed­ing.

Gil­gil Sub-county Hos­pi­tal act­ing med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent Den­ver Ka­mau said 29 peo­ple were brought to the fa­cil­ity in the wee hours of the morn­ing. “We re­ferred six pa­tients to the Nakuru Level 5 Hos­pi­tal but one of them suc­cumbed to his in­juries at the ca­su­alty depart­ment,” the medic said.

Dr Ka­mau said 12 vic­tims were treated and dis­charged. “Among the dead were eight fe­male and four men bring­ing the num­ber to 12,” he said.

Gil­gil OCPD Em­manuel Opuru said the bus driver was over­tak­ing be­fore the ac­ci­dent.

Nakuru Level Five Hos­pi­tal med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent Dr Joseph Mburu said four sur­vivors were re­ferred to the fa­cil­ity.

“The four have been re­ferred to a Nairobi hos­pi­tal for spe­cialised treat­ment after medics helped sta­bilise them,” he said.

A woman who lost her rel­a­tive dur­ing the ac­ci­dent is over­whelmed by grief out­side the Gil­gil Sub­county mor­tu­ary yes­ter­day.

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