Twenty seven passengers on Friday cheated death by a whisker when a bus they were travelling in rammed into a Lorry and burst into flames.
The 62-seater-bus rammed into the Lorry near Chepsir trading centre on Kericho-Nakuru – Nairobi highway around 2.30PM.
The bus, owned by Modern Western Coaches Bus Limited, according to witnesses, burst into flames after hitting the Lorry that was in front sending passengers in a state of confusion.
Horrified passengers jumped out of the vehicle’s windows in a bid to save their lives, and in the process fell over each other, while others had to be assisted by police and other first respondents, witnesses told the Nation.
An 11-year old girl, who had become trapped in the burning bus after being engulfed by flames of fire, sustained more than fifty percent burn injuries and was due to be referred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) for specialised treatment.
Kericho County Commander Rose Muchuma, who was among a huge number of officers who arrived at the accident scene, confirmed the incident, noting that most of the victims sustained fracture injuries.
“The bus driver was attempting to overtake the lorry when he noticed that there was an oncoming Kenya Power lorry and he was forced to stop and try to return to his lane in order to avoid a head-on collision. In the process however, it rammed into the lorry it wanted to overtake,” she said.
Mrs Muchuma said further investigations would be conducted into the incident to ascertain whether it was the driver’s negligence which had nearly cost the lives of the passengers.
“All the injured persons were rushed to various hospitals and medical centers in Kericho town with the assistance of the county-government ambulances where they were admitted for treatment,” she added.
Mrs Muchuma said police did not ascertain the exact number of passengers in the bus.
An eye witness, Eliud Bii, said he was taking lunch at a hotel near the accident scene when he heard an explosion and rushed out to find out what was happening.
He arrived just in time to see huge flames engulfing the bus, noting that the fire may have been sparked off by a series of faults in the battery.
“I noticed that a young girl was screaming through one of the windows. She was trying to jump out of the bus but was unable to do so as the lower parts of her body appeared stuck between the seats. I jumped into the bus and pulled her out,” he said.
Another eye witness claimed that the driver had been speeding when the accident occurred.
Maendeleo ya Wanawake Kericho County Chairlady Mary Cherotich, who was at the scene, cautioned drivers against careless driver and speeding along the highway, adding that the good roads should not be blamed for road carnage.
While sending her wishes for quick recovery to the injured, Ms Cherotich also urged passengers in Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) to take action and stop drivers who drive dangerously on the highways.