Rwanda: Karongi Accident Death Toll Rises to 11

The number of victims in the grisly accident that occurred in Karongi District on Tuesday morning has increased to 11, after three more people succumbed to injuries.

The accident that occurred along the Karongi-Rusizi highway involving a passenger service omnibus had left 17 people injured, who were initially taken to Kibuye Hospital.

Speaking to The New Times, Dr Violette Ayingeneye, the Director General of the hospital, said that Rwanda Defence Force had earlier on Tuesday dispatched a helicopter to evacuate those in very critical condition to Kigali for treatment.

She said that seven of the injured were airlifted to King Faisal Hospital but one - who happened to be the driver - died upon reaching the referral hospital.

Before the evacuation, two more people had died, bringing the total number of fatalities to 11, she said.

Ayingeneye added that the hospital had also transferred six others to University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) by ambulance.

"We transferred them because they were in critical condition and they needed much more advanced treatment, including operation, which requires advanced medical equipment.

Only four of the victims remain at Kibuye Hospital and their conditions are improving, Ayingeneye said yesterday evening.

The accident, that occurred at around 7am saw the passenger bus, which belongs to Ugusenga Transport Company, roll off the road, ending up about 40 metres from the highway.

Senior Supt. Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi, the spokesperson for traffic and road safety department at Rwanda National Police, told The New Times that the cause of the deadly accident had not yet been established.

He, however, said that they were looking at fatigue on the part of the driver as probable cause of the accident.

Ndushabandi reasoned that given that the vehicle had left Kigali and was already in Karongi by 7a.m, it was an indication that the driver might have woken up very early in the morning.

The journey between Kigali and Karongi is about two and half hours.

He said that the company's owners maintain their car had no technical issues and that it had speed governor.

However, Ndushabandi said they will still look into all possible causes during the course of their investigation.

"Having a speed governor is not enough. Depending on the nature of the road, a driver might be required to cruise at 20, 30 or 40 kilometres per hour to avoid possible accident," he said.

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