Nairobi — Fifty Eight Kenyan survivors of an accident that occurred on Friday morning in Tanzania, were flown back to the country late Friday after the President directed the Air force to facilitate their safe return.
The bodies of 12 other Kenyans, who perished in the accident, were also flown in and taken to the Kenyatta University mortuary.
The survivors were at the same time taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), with seven in a critical state.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi, her Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo, Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia and Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu were at the Wilson Airport to receive the survivors.
Kenyatta who spoke after the first group arrived thanked the Tanzanian government for the care it had given to the survivors.
"As you can see they are not badly off and we have to appreciate how they have been handled by the Tanzanian government. I also wish to thank all those government officials who have responded quickly to evacuate the survivors," he said.
A senior military officer who was also on the ground to coordinate the operation told Capital FM News that only 14 survivors spent the night in hospital in Tanzania.
"We were using two crews one which had to go back. They have advised us that they should fly during the day so that they also get time to rest and come with the last group on Saturday," said the officer who wanted to remain anonymous.
One of the Kenya Air Force Buffalo planes touched down with 32 survivors shortly before 10 PM on Friday night much to the relief of family members who had spent over five hours waiting at the Wilson Airport.
The first 32 survivors aboard a Kenya Air Force plane seemed to be in a stable condition but were taken to KNH for further check ups. The second plane with the bodies and 26 survivors touched down shortly after 2 AM on Friday night.
Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia said that the government was going to foot all the hospital bills for the injured and will also support the families of the dead in meeting the burial expenses.
"What is important is to stabilise those we have brought home so that we do not lose any more lives, in circumstances such as this the government has always assisted those who suffer accidents and we will stand by the families," said Kimemia who insisted that hospitals in the city were prepared to handle the survivors.
The KNH team led by CEO Richard Lesiyampe confirmed that they were indeed on high alert to receive Tanga accident victims most of whom had soft tissue injuries.
The group was travelling in two buses when one of the vehicles veered off the road. The second bus was then hit from behind after it stopped for the occupants to offer assistance to those in the other bus.
They were initially supposed to travel to Kampala but changed plans after the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease.
One survivor who spent the night in Tanzania was reported to have been in critical condition and under the observation of medics.