Eleven people died when their bus collided with a lorry full of scrap metal on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway on Wednesday.
Twenty-seven other passengers were injured, some of them seriously, and were admitted to hospital. Those who died were eight men, including the driver of the Mombasa Raha bus, and three women, all killed on the spot.
The accident, the most serious on the route this year, occurred at Ndala area, between Maungu shopping centre and Voi town. The Malindi-bound bus collided with the lorry that was travelling to Nairobi, loaded with scrap metal at 4am.
The impact of the crash was such that the bus skidded on the road and stopped 400 metres from the scene of the collision, said Taita-Taveta police boss Herbert Khaemba.
Six of the injured passengers, who were in critical condition, and 19 others who had slight injuries were on Wednesday night being treated at Moi District Hospital in Voi. Health workers in the hospital who were either off duty or on leave were recalled to attend to the early morning crisis.
Most of the injured suffered head and limb injuries. Two seriously injured patients were taken to Coast General Hospital in Mombasa. “The bodies were also taken to the Coast General hospital mortuary, because the Voi hospital could not cope,” said Mr Khaemba.
The Nation established that Voi hospital can only hold 16 bodies at ago and the residents have been pushing the government to expand the facilities, without success. “We suspect drivers of the two vehicles were speeding but we shall interrogate the lorry driver to get more information concerning the accident,” said the police boss.
Mr Omar Pepela, one of the victims, said: “The lorry was at the centre of the road and the driver tried to drive off the road to avoid it but all in vain.”
By 10am, six hours after the accident, police were still struggling to clear the road of debris from the lorry. On Monday last week, two pastors died a few kilometres from Nakuru town when their vehicle was involved in an accident at a police roadblock.
And one of Kenya’s top athletes, David Lelei, was killed in an accident on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway a few days earlier.
About 3,000 people die in accidents every year.