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Africa

Bus crash in Kenya kills 51 passengers

Bus was travelling from Nairobi to the western town of Kakamega

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 4:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 7:09pm

At least 50 people were killed when the bus they were travelling in overturned and its entire roof was ripped off in an accident in western Kenya early on Wednesday, police said.

“It is unfortunate that we have lost 51 people,” Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet told Capital FM radio.

Around 15 survivors from the bus that was heading from the capital, Nairobi, to the western town of Kakamega were being treated at a hospital in Kericho, Rift Valley regional police boss Francis Munyambu said. The accident occurred around 4am and seven children were among the dead, he said.

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“The information we have is that the driver lost control,” Kericho County police commander James Mugera said.

The bus was not licensed to operate at night and its owners will face charges, regional traffic police boss Zero Arome said.

“It is very unfortunate what has happened and action will be taken,” he said.

The Kenyan Red Cross wrote on Twitter that it overturned. Witnesses said the bus swerved off the road while driving down a steep slope, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.

Footage from the scene showed the faded red bus lying on its side, the seats and mangled bits of metal exposed to the air with the torn-off roof lying nearby.

Dozens of people milled around the accident site and goods were strewn over a large area.

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people in the growing middle class acquire vehicles.

Official statistics show that around 3,000 people die annually in road accidents in Kenya, but the World Health Organisation estimates the figure could be as high as 12,000.

In December 2017, 36 people died in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck.

In 2016 more than 40 people died when an out-of-control fuel tanker ploughed into vehicles then exploded on a busy highway.

In an article for the Elephant online publication in November, commentator Patrick Gathara accused the government of “knee-jerk responses” such as banning night buses, enforcing speed limits, seat belts and speed governors on public transport vehicles.

“Reactionary legal measures are quickly announced in the aftermath of a particularly horrific crash, with little research, forethought or long-term planning, and just as quickly forgotten,” Gathara wrote.

Additional reporting by Associated Press