Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Night of tears and anguish as 22 die in accident

A mangled wreck of one of the two buses involved in the accident at Siapei Narok. PHOTO/NATION CORRESPONDENT

A mangled wreck of one of the two buses involved in the accident at Siapei Narok. PHOTO/NATION CORRESPONDENT 

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

Nineteen passengers died on the spot after the two buses they were travelling in were involved in an accident at Siapei Kenya on the Narok-Maai Mahiu road on Tuesday night.

Three other people died at the Narok District Hospital where they were undergoing treatment.

Police and witnesses gave varying accounts on the cause of the accident with two survivors who were being treated for multiple injuries claiming that their driver was speeding.

According to one account, one of the bus drivers had difficulty negotiating a sharp bend and collided with another oncoming bus.

The latest tragedy on Kenyan roads occurred at a sharp bend on a newly tarmacked section of the Narok-Maai Mahiu road, considered a black spot.

Narok OCPD Charles Okweya yesterday said two buses were involved in the accident but said it was not a head-on collision.

One of the buses, called Philomena, which was travelling from Kisii to Nairobi, failed to negotiate the sharp bend and rammed the side of another belonging to the Nyamira Express Bus Company, which was heading in the opposite direction.

Mr Okweya said the driver of Philomena bus lost control before his bus hit the rear of the other.

The impact catapulted one of the passengers in the back seat of the Nyamira Express to the tarmac. The man died instantly.

Another passenger, who was also in the back seat, died on the spot while trapped in his seat.

The Nairobi-bound bus rolled several times before landing on its roof about 200 metres from where the accident occurred.

It was there — in a bush — that 19 of the 22 passengers who were involved in the mid-night accident died instantly.

Torn pieces of clothes, scattered shoes, fragments of human skull and hair at the site were the only remaining signs of lives cut short in the tragedy.

Dry pools of blood, tracing the trail of death from the tarmack to the bushes, told of the agony and pain which snuffed life out of the travellers and left others with both physical and psychological injuries that will take years to heal.

Luggage, food items, mostly vegetables and cereals, were scattered at the scene. The dry maize, avocados, bananas, pineapples, tomatoes on the site were perhaps the gifts that the passengers had carried for their loved ones in the city, a destination they never reached.

According to the OCPD, police were informed about the accident around midnight.

“We made sure that as we rescued the injured and removed the bodies of those who had died; we looked for and kept all the identification documents. These enabled us to identify those who had died,” Mr Okweya told the Nation at the scene of the accident.

At the Narok District Hospital where most of the injured were being treated, doctors and nurses were busy attending to injuries, continuously rushing in and out of the two wards in which the injured were admitted.

At the notice board, shocked relatives, friends and onlookers crowded, each trying to have a glimpse of the list with 49 names of those involved in the accident and the statistics of those who had been confirmed dead.

According to the document, the hospital had only identified two of the 22 who perished in the accident.

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