31 December 2017

Kenya: Bus Collides With Truck, Kills Dozens

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Police say the bus was on the wrong side of the road when it plowed head-on into an oncoming truck in the middle of the night. The accident occurred on a stretch of highway known for its high death toll.

At least 36 people were killed in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck in central Kenya on Sunday.

"The death toll is now 36," said Rift Valley traffic police chief Zero Arome, explaining the initial toll of 30 had risen, "after six passengers succumbed to injuries in hospital."

The accident occurred at about 3 a.m. (0000 UTC) on a stretch of the Nakuru-Eldoret highway known for deadly accidents.

The bus was traveling from Busia, in western Kenya, when it collided with a truck coming from Nakuru town.

Rift valley regional coordinator Wanyama Musiba, said the bus was coming from Busia, near the Ugandan border, heading for the capital, Nairobi, when it collided with a cargo truck.

"The bus, which was going downhill, probably had a brake failure, or either it was overspeeding or the driver was tired, those are the possibilities we are looking at. But, as you can see, the bus was being driven on the wrong side of the road," Wanyama told journalists.

The death toll for that stretch of road has now topped 100 this month alone.

Arome said the drivers of both vehicles were killed, as well as a three-year-old child, with the injured taken to a nearby hospital.

Death on the highways

One survivor, speaking from his hospital bed, said he was sleeping at the back of the bus when the collision occurred.

"All I heard was a loud bang and screams from all over," he said. "I was seated at the back and was helped out after some time because my legs were stuck. It is by the grace of God that I am alive. I saw many people dead and their bodies mutilated."

Statistics show that about 3,000 people die every year in road accidents in Kenya, but the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the figure could be as high as 12,000.

In December 2016 more than 40 were killed when a fuel tanker lost control and plowed into multiple vehicles before exploding on another busy stretch of highway. Deadly road accidents often spike over the holidays when people criss-cross the country to visit family and friends.

Hundreds of people have died in road accidents in recent weeks, including three Pentecostal bishops and a newly elected governor.

In recent weeks road accidents have claimed the lives of hundreds of people, among them three Pentecostal bishops and a newly elected governor.

Kenya's Energy Minister CS Charles Keter has promised road improvements starting in January to separate trucks from public service vehicles.

bik/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)

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