A somber mood has engulfed Kisii county after 13 people including nine students and four teachers died in a grisly road accident. The accident occurred the school bus belonging to Rioma secondary school rolled several times at Nyambunde on the Itumbe –Igare road on Wednesday night.
The bus was ferrying students and their teachers to Nyamache district for sports activities. The students were drawn from Itibo Girls, Entanda, Tambacha, Kenyoro and Engoto secondary schools to the Kisii county term two games which were to start yesterday.
Among those who perished was the principal of one of the schools, the Marani district secondary schools sports secretary and two female teachers from Itibo and Entanda.
The county director of medical services Geoffrey Otomu said 54 victims in the 5pm accident are undergoing treatment at the Kisii Level Five Hospital. Otomu said 14 students who sustained serious spinal and head injuries were airlifted to Kenyatta National Hospital for specialized treatment.
“The county and national governments under the leadership of Governor James Ongwae and County Commissioner Lydia Muriuki made the arrangements to have the 14 airlifted to Kenyatta National Hospital,” he said.
Muriuki and Ongwae led a high powered delegation to Kisii hospital to visit the victims and expressed their sorrow for the tragedy. “It is very sad that we have lost such young lives in the accident. As a county it is a dark day for all of us and we empathise with the families of the victims,” Ongwae said.
Muriuki said both governments will work closely to ensure that those admitted receive proper treatment. According to Befon John, a student at Kenyoro secondary school who survived the accident, the tragedy occurred because the bus driver was not used to the road which has several bends.
He said before the accident, the drive tried to apply emergency brakes when he realized he was at a sharp corner but the brakes failed making the bus to roll several times before landing in a ditch.
“I am lucky to have seen this day which my colleagues have not. The accident was terrible and it is by the grace of God that some of us are alive,” the form three student said from his hospital bed. Another victim said that the bus was carrying more than 70 people.
He said when they were in Kisii town, he heard the driver whisper that the vehicle had developed some mechanical problems which he said were to be rectified after the trip because they were minor.
County police commander Simon Kiragu said six people died on the spot while seven others were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. “The driver of the bus is one of the victims admitted at the hospital so he will be required to record a statement on what happened,” Kiragu said.
Ongwae said that hospital and mortuary bills will be waived to save affected families from incurring more expenses. “Yesterday we had a security meeting in Kisii where road safety issues were raised. We agreed that all fees be waived to save affected families,” Ongwae said.