Kwale crash leaves village mourning eight people

Kinango Accident

Wreckage of the matatu in which 18 people died after it hit an oncoming trailer along the Mombasa - Nairobi highway.
 

Photo credit: Siago Cece I Nation Media Group

When Mwakazi Mlolwa and his younger brother, Jonah, did not arrive in Mombasa from Voi as scheduled, their families were worried.

And when they heard news of an accident on the Voi-Mombasa road, the family decided to travel to Kinango yesterday morning to check if the two were among the 20 who perished in a grisly road accident that involved a matatu and a lorry.

Their elder sister, Naomi Mlowa, could not contain her grief after finding her two brothers lying on the mortuary floor side by side, among other casualties, who had yet to be identified. Ms Naomi said they visited the mortuary after the two went silent after informing the family of their travel.

“We went to Kinango and confirmed my two younger brothers were no more. It is sad to learn that,” she told Sunday Nation on the phone. “We are now following up on the matter with the police before we move the bodies to Voi mortuary as we plan burial.”

Mgeno village in Mwatate, Taita Taveta, was mourning eight locals, who also died in the Friday evening crash. “We received news of six people who died on the spot, but today morning, another two who had survived with serious injuries also succumbed,” said John Mwaliko, a resident.

Relatives of one of the eight had been identified, but families of the rest were still being traced.

18 killed in Kwale matatu crash

The driver of the lorry was recuperating at Mariakani Sub-County Hospital. Mr Willy Musyoka said the accident occured at around 5 pm on Friday, he was headed for Nairobi in transit to Kampala to deliver a container from the Mombasa Port. He had just made a stop at Samburu and was resuming his long journey. “I was driving on the way heading for Nairobi and noticed that there was one speeding vehicle that was oncoming. I moved aside from the road and stopped to let him pass.”

The matatu driver instead drove towards him and, in a split second, hit the lorry from the front. Mr Musyoka, who was alone in the lorry, survived with a slight left knee injury and moved out of his vehicle to check on other victims before he proceeded for medical check-up. He said the matatu driver could have been asleep and probably lost control of his vehicle. Fifteen people died on the spot while the rest died on their way to or in hospital.

Area police boss Fred Ombaka said the impact on the vehicle was big. Police yesterday said one of the two survivors admitted to Mariakani Sub-County Hospital had succumbed to his injuries. A 21-year-old girl was still hospitalised with a fractured leg and cut lip but was stable.

By Anthony Kitimo, Siago Cece and Winnie Atieno

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