Kenya: Avoid Swollen Rivers, President Kenyatta Warns After 23 Killed in River Enziu Bus Tragedy

5 December 2021

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned Kenyans to avoid swollen rivers during the heavy rainy season after more than 23 people were killed when their bus was swept away in River Enziu.

23 bodies were pulled out of the bus soon after the tragedy on Saturday, but police said there were more bodies in the wreckage which they hoped to retrieve Sunday.

"President Uhuru Kenyatta sends his heartfelt condolences to the families that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate incident in Mwingi, Kitui County when a bus they were traveling in plunged into River Enziu," a dispatch from State House stated, "The President wishes quick recovery to those that were injured in the unfortunate incident."

He "reminded Kenyans across the country to heed Government advisory against attempting to cross swollen rivers especially during the current rainy season."

The bus plunged into the swollen river, killing more than 23 people while 12 were rescued.

Onlookers screamed as the yellow school bus hired to take a church choir and other revelers to a wedding ceremony in Kitui County keeled over and sank as the driver tried to navigate the surging waters.

Some aboard the stricken bus managed to escape before the bus was quickly submerged, and were helped to safety.

"We have this terrible, terrible accident that happened here this morning," Kitui governor Charity Ngilu told reporters.

"The bodies that have already been retrieved right now are over 23. We have more bodies in the bus," she said, adding that efforts to recover the corpses would resume on Sunday morning.

She said 12 people had been rescued, including four children.

It remains unclear how many passengers were aboard the bus when it tipped into the Enziu River, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) east of the capital Nairobi.

Witnesses said the driver had stopped to negotiate the river, and was close to the other side when the bus was swept beneath the churning currents.

Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga were among those to extend their condolences, and also urged motorists to apply extra caution on the roads with many parts of Kenya experiencing heavy rain.

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