Witnesses and survivors of the fiery bus and truck crash that occurred between Emali and Sultan Hamud on Mombasa-Nairobi highway on Wednesday described the incident as “a scene from hell”.
Survivors who spoke with Nation at Kilome Nursing Home said that the journey from Nairobi was smooth until the accident happened.
“I was awoken by the screeching of emergency breaks that was followed by a bang and the wailing of passengers who were shouting ‘fire!’,” said Mr Clement Wachira, a Malindi-based trader who was heading to Mombasa.
Mr Wachira scrambled among other passengers to jump out of the bus that was now smouldering at its cabin through broken window panes and watched helplessly as other passengers were caught up in the huge tongues of fire that consumed the vehicle.
“Some of the passengers were unable to get out of the bus because of the huge flames that consumed the vehicle,” said Mr Wachira who suffered a fractured leg and a bleeding nose.
His account matched that of Martin Musyoki, a witness, and Richard Mulei a curio trader who credited his incessant prayers at the start of the journey for his survival.
Mr Musyoki said that the two vehicles were still burning by the time he arrived at the accident scene four hours after the accident happened.
“It was a scene from here and there is no way we could salvage the passengers,” he said, blaming the Makueni County fire brigade that he said arrived at the scene after the fire had completely consumed the two vehicles.
“My spirit kept telling that I needed to pray hard and dedicate the passengers and this bus to God something I did twice before we left Nairobi,” said Mr Mulei, adding that he had also called his wife after departure requiring that she prayed for him, the other travellers and the bus itself.
Just like most of the other passengers Mr Mulei fell asleep only to be jolted to life when the bus collided head on with the lorry as it overtook another vehicle.
“It is my conviction that the accident could have claimed more lives if it were not for my prayers,” he said.
“I would also have died in the accident”.
The driver of the lorry, a former councillor in Makueni County, is among those who were confirmed dead in the crash.
Those who were not as lucky include two pupils and a teacher at Bonfire Academy in Nairobi who were among four pupils in the school on a trip to Mombasa.
A clinical officer at Kilome Nursing Home Ms Sylvia Kavesa said that the two pupils who survived the accident were out of danger.
“Only two out of the 18 patients that have received are in a critical condition while the others have been treated and are free to go home,” she said.