A dowry negotiation trip ended tragically when 12 people were killed and scores hurt in a road accident in Kirinyaga County.
Those killed had accompanied a man to visit his would-be in-laws at Ngurubani market, Kirinyaga, at the weekend.
The weekend crash occurred after a hired school bus owned by Come Juu Premier Academy and ECD College plunged into a river at Saba Saba, two kilometres from Sagana Bridge on the Nairobi-Nyeri highway.
Authorities claimed one person could not be accounted for immediately after the 7pm accident.
Central PPO John Mbijjiwe said the bus driver, who was among the survivors, lost control of the vehicle due to poor visibility occasioned by full lights from an oncoming vehicle.
“He lost control of the vehicle and plunged into the river,” said Mr Mbijjiwe. Witnesses, including Transport PS Cyrus Njiru, assisted with rescue. The injured were taken to Thika District Hospital.
It was believed most victims succumbed to injuries after they drowned in the river, and could not exit the mangled wreckage.
The bus plunged more than 20 metres into the river, and rescuers and police had a rough time recovering survivors and the bodies.
The victims were travelling back to Githunguri in Kiambu from a traditional dowry-paying ceremony locally known as ‘ruracio’ at Ngurubani market in Mwea.
Among the survivors was Mr James Ng’ang’a, who had gone to pay the dowry to the family of Rose Muthoni Kamau, 32, a saloonist at Ngurubani market. Medical Superintendent at Thika District Hospital Jonah Mwangi said the victims, including Ng’ang’a, were treated and discharged, except a woman with a fractured arm.
“We received 21 patients and all of them suffered soft tissue injuries, apart from a woman who sustained a fracture. She is admitted pending specialised treatment,” said Dr Mwangi.
The medic added Ng’ang’a sustained minor injuries, and was among those discharged.
Mr Francis Muchira, a trader at Ngurubani market and a cousin to Kamau, said Ng’ang’a lost his father, three sisters and a brother-in-law.
Mbijjiwe, Njiru and Central PC Kiplimo Rugut said among the dead were five adult males and females and a child, whose age could not be immediately established.
Mbijjiwe said investigation had began. Rugut and Njiru urged motorists to be careful during the festive season, noting 85 per cent of accidents are blamed on human error.