15 perish in road carnage in Kapenguria as bus rolls down a cliff
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
Read 729 Times
The front part of the wreckage of the bus which rolled over a cliff near kamatira Forest in Kapenguria killing 13 with 65 being hospitalised. Photos | leonard Wamalwa | West Fm
At least 15 people lost their lives yesterday evening after they were involved in a grizzly road accident that saw a Lodwar-bound Bus belonging to DAYA Express company loose control on a steep sharp corner near Kamatira forest and rolled down a cliff with a steep gradient not less than 100 meters deep in the valley.
Over 65 casualties were admitted at Kapenguria district hospital whereby two of them including a child who had a head injury and the driver of the bus who was said to have received multiple injuries.
Hospital authorities did confirm that there were casualties who had minor injuries and thus were treated and let go as some of them requested to seek further medication themselves at Kitale hospitals after receiving first aids and other emergency treatment.
The bus which is said to have been fully loaded with passengers and luggage seemed to have failed its breaks hence leading to the driver to struggle to keep it to the road but to no avail as it hit the sharp edge of the road on the upper side and veered off on the opposite side hitting trees and other objects down the steep slope.
"The vehicle started swaying while we were just starting the slope down the road and in a short while i just saw the bus hit the edge of the road and the rolled four times on the opposite side down the cliff and I just found myself down at the bottom of the valley not knowing anything but I think its God who saved us," said Duncan Okumu a machine operator in Lodwar who had boarded the bus to his place of work.
Volunteers and other motorists together with the police were busy involved in the rescue exercise of the survivors with improvised and volunteered equipments such as generators, welding machines, hacksaws among all sorts of things that could make it easy to access the bodies and the injured who had been trapped in the wreckage of the bus.
A section of the bodies that had been trapped in the wreckage of the bus.
Calls for help could still be heard from bus deep at the lower side where the rescuers were still struggling to reach with their ill poor equipments that could not enable them quick access to the survivors and hence more people might have lost their lives in the long run.
Volunteers in the rescue exercise had to improvise a way of retrieving the bodies from the cliff to the road on to the waiting vehicles by holding hands on a long chain that had them pull each other up the hill as they moved with a body or a survivor.
However residents and other people at the scene blamed the government for not being prepared to handle such disasters despite happening more often.
"This bus fell at round 5pm but it is now approaching 11pm and we have not achieved any meaningful move to rescue the survivors due to lack of equipments," said councilor Losilian Kalo a former chairman of Chepareria town council who was at the scene.
They said the government should move in to redesign and expand the road to suit the sharp terrain that has led to the loss of lives of thousands of people through the rampant road accidents especially at that particular scene.
The residents threatened to stage demonstrations and block the ever busy road to compel the government to move in with speed to rehabilitate the road.
Some of the survivors who spoke to journalists at their hospital beds in Kapenguria pointed out that the bus was overloaded and the driver seemed to be in a hurry by driving at a fast speed that led to the crush.
"Shortly before the accident passengers had shouted to the driver to reduce the speed but even before he could heed the shouts the bus had already lost control and we found ourselves in the cliff, said one of the survivors George Owino an electrician who was headed for an interview at Ngamia 1 where he had applied for an advertised job at the newly found oil project.
He said the accident occurred due to the negligence and recklessness of the driver doubled with heavy overloading of passengers and luggage.
Even though the OCPD insisted that the vehicle was not overloaded but the accident might have occured as a result of failed breaks.
The police boss appealed to drivers plying that route to be wary of the terrain and the narrow road hence should not overload their vehicles. He further appealed to the owners of the public service vehicles including buses and Matatus to regularly service their vehicles and also not to send old vehicles to that route that in turn claim lives of innocent passengers.
The passengers on the bus comprised of people from different backgrounds including Sudanese, ethiopians and Kenyans who work or do business in Lodwar, Lokichoggio and Southern Sudan among other parts of that region.