At least 48 Killed in Kenya Road Disaster

At least 48 people were killed Friday when a truck apparently lost control and plowed into other vehicles and pedestrians at a busy junction in western Kenya, police said.

Television images showed scenes of devastation at the crash site with the mangled wreckage of several minibuses and the overturned truck as rescue workers hunted for people feared trapped.

“So far we can confirm 48 dead and we are suspecting one or two are still trapped under the truck,” local police commander Geoffrey Mayek told AFP after the accident on the highway between the towns of Kericho and Nakuru.

He said another 30 people had been seriously injured and rushed to various hospitals.

Tom Mboya Odero, the regional police commander for the Rift Valley, said the truck traveling toward Kericho “lost control and rammed into eight vehicles, several motorcycles, people who were by the roadside, vendors, and other people who were on other businesses.”

Kenyan leaders including President William Ruto expressed their condolences after the accident, which took place about 6:30 p.m. (1530 GMT) at a busy area known as Londiani junction.

Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen said on Twitter that the rescue efforts would be followed by an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

Collins Kipkoech, a senior doctor at Kericho County Hospital, said his facility’s morgue had so far received 45 bodies while more victims were taken to other hospitals “and the rescue is still ongoing.”

The Kenyan Red Cross, which sent ambulances and rescue workers to the scene, said heavy rains were hindering rescue operations.

“The truck was [traveling at] high speed. … It tried to avoid several vehicles before it came straight into the market,” said one witness, Maureen Jepkoech.

“All I can say is that I am lucky to be alive because I saw what happened and I am alive because I ran. I am just lucky,” she added.

“I have seen a very bad scene, bodies and blood all over. So many people are dead.”

‘Happened in a flash’

Another witness, Joel Rotich, said, “The accident happened in a flash. Many of them had no time to escape. There was a lot of confusion because people were screaming all over and everyone was running after the accident.”

He added, “It took some time before people gathered courage and started helping those injured.”

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

“My heart is crushed,” Kericho County Governor Erick Mutai wrote on Facebook, describing it as a “dark moment for the people of Kericho.”

“My heart goes out to the families who have just lost their loved ones,” he said, adding that ambulances had been mobilized and all health facilities were on standby.

Ruto, for his part, said the country was mourning with the families who had lost their loved ones. He urged motorists to be extra cautious on the roads, particularly when there was heavy rain.

“It is distressing that some of the fatalities are young people with a promising future and businesspeople who were on their daily chores,” he said on Twitter.

Source: VOA

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