Subscribe
Close
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
page
post

Kenya In Shock As Road Crash Toll Hits 52

The disaster occurred at Londiani junction on a busy highway between the lakeside town of Nakuru and Kericho, an area known for its lush tea plantations.

This video grab taken from an AFPTV video on June 30, 2023 shows wreckage from vehicles on the scene after an accident on the highway between the towns of Kericho and Nakuru. (Photo by AFPTV / AFP)



By Oluwatobi Aworinde

The death toll from a grisly road crash in western Kenya rose to 52 on Saturday, police said, as rescuers worked to clear the wreckage from one of the deadliest traffic accidents in the country in recent years.

A truck carrying a shipping container veered out of control and ploughed into multiple other vehicles and people thronging a busy road junction on Friday evening, plunging the nation into shock and mourning.

“The toll has risen to 52 after three more people succumbed to their injuries in hospital,” local police commander Geoffrey Mayek told AFP.

The disaster occurred at Londiani junction on a busy highway between the lakeside town of Nakuru and Kericho, an area known for its lush tea plantations.

Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen told reporters during a visit to the site that new safety measures would be introduced after what he described as a “terrible” and “painful” tragedy.

“Investigations have been launched to establish the cause of this accident but we urge drivers to be cautious and follow the rules,” he said, adding that the truck was believed to have been bound for Rwanda.

This video grab taken from an AFPTV video on June 30, 2023, shows the wreckage of a vehicle on the scene after an accident on the highway between the towns of Kericho and Nakuru. (Photo by – / AFPTV / AFP)

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Abdi Hassan said earlier that rescuers had resumed a search for victims believed trapped under the wreckage, but it was not known if the updated toll included bodies recovered from the site.

Hassan added that more than 30 people were injured when the truck rammed into private cars, minibuses, boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) and market stalls at Londiani junction.

Kenyan station Citizen TV said the truck driver had died, but this could not be immediately confirmed independently.

Footage from the scene late Friday showed the mangled wreckage of multiple vehicles, doors torn off minibuses and motorbikes crushed into chunks of twisted metal, as rescuers worked in the dark under pouring rain.

On Saturday, large crowds of onlookers were at the scene, where the overturned container was stuck in a ditch, and debris was strewn across a wide area, including car seats, piles of fruit, a damaged axel and even a lone black boot.

‘People Screaming All Over’

“The accident happened in a flash, many of them had no time to escape,” said one witness, Joel Rotich.

“There was a lot of confusion because people were screaming all over and everyone was running after the accident.”

Kenyan leaders including President William Ruto expressed their condolences after the accident and Londiani was trending on social media, with many people posting sombre pictures of a candle next to the word Londiani on Twitter.

“The country mourns with the families who have lost loved ones,” Ruto said on his official Twitter page on Friday.

Murkomen said the government planned to arrange for street traders to move from roadside areas to designated markets in a bid to avoid such catastrophes in future.

He also called for increased safety measures at the site of the accident such as speed bumps and for long-distance truck drivers to ensure they have proper rest breaks and also take refresher courses.

According to figures from Kenya’s National Transport and Safety Authority, at least 21,760 people were involved in road accidents last year, including 4,690 who died.

Last July, at least 34 people perished when a bus plunged into a river at a notorious blackspot in central Kenya, while a bus crash in October 2018 in Kericho county claimed the lives of 50 people.

In a speech in December, Murkomen blamed human error for much of the carnage on the roads, including drunk driving, speeding, fatigue and dangerous overtaking.

The World Health Organization said in September last year that Africa has the highest road traffic fatality rate in the world, with more than 800 people killed every day.

AFP

Channels Inc Ltd.

Share this:

Back to top

Sign up for the latest news, updates, and analyses by email