Mwingi crash cuts short lives of 10 learners

Seth Onyango @PeopleDailyKe

St Gabriel Primary School in Mwingi is grieving following the death of 10 pupils in a road accident while returning from an educational trip in Mombasa. President Uhuru Kenyatta led the nation in condoling with the families and friends of the deceased as he wished the injured a quick recovery.

Uhuru said the loss of the young lives was unfortunate. “It is indeed sad and unfortunate that we lost those we look forward to secure the future of our great nation,” he said.

Forty students, a matron and three teachers were on board the bus when it collided head-on with lorry on a bridge and plunged into Kanginga River one kilomtre from Mwingi town on the Thika-Garissa Road.

Five pupils died on the spot. Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed also sent a message of condolence to berieved families. “I convey my profound condolences to the families of the bereaved, the staff and students of St. Gabriel Academy,” she said in a tweet.

She added: “I join other Kenyans in praying for the quick recovery of the pupils, teachers and matron who are undergoing treatment.” The CS confirmed that 10 pupils had died, with two in critical condition at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

Two are admitted at Nairobi Hospital while three pupils, the matron, driver and a teacher are admitted at Mwingi Level Four Hospital. Six students had just been dropped home at the time of the accident. “Six learners had been dropped off at their homes.

Twenty six survivors were examined and treated at Mwingi Level Four while 24 were treated and discharged,” she said. She said the government would offer support to the families of the dead and the injured. She said doctors at KNH, Nairobi Hospital and Mwingi Level Four were doing everything possible to save the lives of the injured.

“The Ministry has dispatched senior officials under the leadership of the Regional Coordinator for Education, Eastern to Mwingi Level Four Hospital to assess the situation and work with various government agencies to ensure good healthcare for the survivors,” said Mohammed.

The 11pm accident comes on the back of a government directive limiting the operation of school buses between 6am and 6pm. Questions are being asked why the directive was not adhered to. Christopher Nzili, a board member said the learners had travelled to Mombasa on August 1 and were going back to Mwingi. He said they had 92 pupils aboard two school buses.

“We had the St Gabriel bus and Nguutani Boys Secondary School bus which we had hired. At around 10pm, the Nguutani School bus was hit by the lorry. It’s such a shock to have travelled all the way from Mombasa only for our children to perish in their home area. Let’s continue praying for the affected,” added Nzili.

Mwingi Central Deputy County Commissioner Omar Dima condoled with the relatives saying it was a big loss and they were investigating the cause of the accident.

“The bus was coming from a trip in Mombasa heading to Mwingi. It collided with a lorry and the driver lost control. The bus landed in a stream killing eight on the spot. The others are in critical condition but we wish them quick recovery,” added Dima.

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