Nine people have been killed and at least 20 others seriously injured in a fiery road crash on Nairobi-Mombasa highway between Emali and Sultan Hamud in Makueni County.
They died after a bus, belonging to Mombasa-based BusCar company, and a truck burst into flames following a head-on collision early Wednesday morning.
Makueni County Commissioner Mohammed Maalim confirmed the deaths, saying the injured had been rushed to Kilome Nursing Home for medication.
"The vehicles collided head-on and went up in flames," said Mr Maalim, describing the crash as “a very bad one”.
The administrator said the bus, which was bound for Mombasa Island, had 39 passengers when the disaster struck.
And according to Kilungu police chief Paul Odede, at least 10 people, passengers of the bus, remain unaccounted for amid fears they might have been burned beyond recognition.
Mr Odede said the remains of some of the passengers who had been burned beyond recognition were still trapped in the wreck of the bus.
The bus, he said, was trying to overtake another vehicle when the crash happened.
"The bus... was trying to overtake another vehicle when it collided head-on with the lorry heading towards Nairobi," said Mr Odede.
At the crash scene, the wrecks of the jinxed vehicles lay separated from each other by heaps of metal, plastic and ash.
Tattered clothes, shoes, travelling bags and foodstuff dotted the scene in untidy heaps.
It is one of the ugliest case of vehicles bursting into flames after colliding.
It was not immediately clear what caused the flames and the Nation's efforts to speak to survivors where hampered by hospital staff who denied journalists access to wards.
Mr Maalim said police were investigating the actual cause and circumstances under which the smash-up happened.
The dead were taken to Makindu Hospital mortuary.
Nairobi-Mombasa highway's stretch between Emali and Sultan Hamud is a blackspot at which dozens of passengers lose their lives every year.
Three people were killed near the same spot in February this year after two lorries collided and went up in flames.
Most crashes happen at night.