Eleven matatu passengers die in Kikopey crash

Eleven people die in road accident

In Summary

• All six women and five men in matatu died

•Multiple crash involved five other vehicles, but passengers were not injured

The matatu involved in the Kikopey crash on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
The matatu involved in the Kikopey crash on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

All eleven passengers travelling in a Nissan matatu were killed in a crash along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway on Friday.

The five men and six women died after a trailer heading to Nakuru from Nairobi rammed into their 2NK Nissan matatu near Gilgil town.

The truck driver survived and fled.

Several other motorists escaped with minor injuries after the lorry, suspected to have developed a mechanical problem, crashed into the matatu before rolling several times.

Personal effects soaked in blood and fuel were scattered at the scene as police tried to control the surging crowd.

The wreckage of the matatu and trailer lay on the opposite side of the road.

The accident which happened at 9.30am caused a traffic snarl-up.

Gilgil OCPD Emmanuel Opuru said the driver of the truck that was heading to Nakuru was to blame.

He said the truck first hit the matatu, killing all passengers, before ramming into five other vehicles including a trailer along the highway.

"All the eleven passengers in the matatu that include six women and five men died on the spot while the driver of the truck escaped soon after the accident,” he said.

The senior police officer added that passengers from other vehicles were not injured, adding that they had launched a manhunt for the fleeing driver.

“The information we are getting is that the truck started swerving from one side of the road to the other before hitting the matatu and the other vehicles,” he said.

Opuru added that the bodies had been taken to Gilgil Sub-county Hospital mortuary while the vehicle wreckage had been towed to Gilgil police station.

A witness, Paul Mwangi, narrated how the speeding truck was hooting and flashing its lights as it drove downhill before the accident occurred.

He said the matatu driver tried to swerve off the road to avoid the speeding lorry.

“The truck rammed the matatu on its side, killing all the occupants on the spot before hitting five other vehicles and landing in a ditch,” he said.

In the last two years, more than 30 people have died on the steep section of the road with mechanical failures blamed for the accidents.

In 2017, a driver lost control of a trailer and rammed into a bus killing 20 people before another bus hit a lorry last year near the same area killing 18 people.