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Grief as bodies of road crash victims identified

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

Grief-stricken families and relatives of victims of a horror road accident in Migaa on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway yesterday jammed the Nakuru county hospital mortuary to view bodies of their loved ones. Some of the relatives of those killed in the Sunday morning accident wailed as the bodies were being removed from the morgue for identification.

At the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, Phoebe Achieng, a survivor who lost her husband and three children in the road crash, said words could not describe her pain and agony. The mother of four was travelling with her family from Kisumu to Nairobi when the bus they were travelling in rammed into a truck heading in the opposite direction killing 36 people.

Her husband and one son died on the spot while her other children aged two years old and two months old were pronounced dead on arrival at Nakuru Level Five Hospital. “We were travelling from Kisumu to Nairobi in preparation for the children to go back to school. We were hoping to make it on time to Nairobi so as to finalise payments of the fees and purchasing of uniforms,” she said.

According to her, the bus driver was speeding and overtaking carelessly and efforts by passengers to make him slow down fell on deaf ears. “The bus driver was speeding and moments later he slammed on the breaks before the bus rammed into an oncoming truck,” she added.

The 3am accident happened when the bus belonging to Nairobi Bus Company, formerly Matunda Bus Company, which was travelling from Busia collided head-on with a truck that was travelling from Nakuru.

Another survivor, George Owuor, told People Daily the bus appeared to be faulty from the beginning of the journey. Owuor, who was sitting behind the driver, said traffic police officers had flagged down the vehicle at a road block about 30 minutes before the crash but allowed the driver to proceed.

At the Nakuru county mortuary, members of St Joseph Legio Maria church, Machakos diocese, were yet to come to terms with the death of Bishop Simeon Opiyo Oyaya, who died in the accident. Church deacon Isaiah Oloko said the bishop, who was travelling from Kisumu, was expected to preside over a Sunday morning mass at their church in Machakos.

“The bishop was expected to preside over a service at Machakos where we waited for him for hours,” said Oloko. They, however, proceeded with the service in the absence of the bishop after waiting for him for hours.

“We proceeded with the service. We were later called by his brother who informed us of the tragic demise of our bishop,” he added. Bernadette Ochieng, who lost his 37-year-old first born son in the accident said his son was travelling from Nyakach to Nairobi. The accident took place less than a month after 17 people died in a multiple smash up at Sachangwan black spot in Molo.

The government has advertised a tender to construct a dual carriage way from Kibunja to Salgaa in bid to check accidents. The Sh500 million project is expected to kick off in March this year.

As a short term measure to curb road carnage in the area, the Kenya national highways authority (KeNHA) has erected bumps along the 21 kilometers stretch from Kibunja to Salgaa. More than ten grisly accidents have taken place along the Ngata-Kamara stretch, which covers Ngata, Sobea, Migaa, Salgaa, Sachang’wan, Total, Mau Summit and Kamara claiming several lives in Nakuru.

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