Nine killed, several others injured as bus plunges into Mbagathi River

Debris of the Naboka Sacco bus that lost control and plunged into Mbagathi River on May 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi| Nation Media Group

Nine people on Saturday died and 17 others sustained injuries after a bus they were travelling in plunged into Mbagathi River in Gataka area of Ongata Rongai.

The bus owned by Naboka Sacco was heading to Nairobi from Gataka, when the driver lost control, veered off the road, and clutched in the river.

At 09.40 am on Saturday, the police said, a "motor vehicle registration KAY 185L Bus of Naboka Sacco driven by an unknown driver" was involved in an accident.

Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Mary Omari confirmed that nine died as a result. Six people died on the spot while two died while being rushed to hospital and the other later passed on in the hospital.

Some 17 others were injured and rushed to various nearby hospitals, the AIG said.

“It happened that the vehicle was being driven from Gataka shopping centre towards Karen hardy direction on reaching Mbagathi river, the driver lost control and plunged into the said river," an earlier police report read.

Kenyans mile around the scene of an accident involving Naboka Sacco bus that lost control and plunged into Mbagathi River on May 18, 2024. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi| Nation Media Group

What happened between when the bus left Gataka to when it plunged into the river, fatally bringing to an end the journey is not clear.

The bus was hardly 10 minutes into the trip to the capital when the unthinkable happened.

“Everything was okay until the bumps just after the steep slope with the bridge that Mbagathi River flows under,” narrated Faith, one of the survivors.

“Then it began reversing and before I could get my head around whatever was happening, the bus was already in wreckage below the bridge.

The bus, she said, was carrying excess passengers, contradicting the police figures. She was among the unlucky few who did not have seats and were standing on the isle.

She was among the last to board, before they embarked on the ill-fated journey that has many scarred and bruised.

If this is true, then the official figures given by the police are way below the number of casualties in the 33-seater bus.

The tout, who Faith said was standing beside her, cheated death too. He was scarred, however, Faith said. But the driver of the bus is believed to be among the deceased.

Mr Walgat Munyeti was among the first responders. He said he helped pull several people from the stoically flowing waters and the debris.

“About half of those we pulled from the debris were lifeless,” he said.

“Several buses have had near-death experiences at this deadly bridge but have always managed the situation,” said Eric Murangi, one of the witnesses.

The wreckage of the bus was pulled out the water hours past midday.