Death toll in Modern Coast bus crash hits 35 as rescue operation ends

Nithi-River bus accident victims. From left: Paul Muruthi Kamau (Driver), Ken Mwenda, David Marangu, George Muchori Macharia and Said Mugwika. (Bottom row from left) Agnes Kawira and Nicholas Ariyo, Jane Karambu, Simon Nzighe (conductor), Mugambi Muchiri. On the right is Dr Mary Mwandisha.

Photo credit: Pool

A rescue and recovery mission at the Nithi bridge where a Modern Coast bus crashed on Sunday evening has been called off as the death toll rose to 35.

Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner Nobert Komora told the news media on Monday night that all 44 people who were in the bus, including the driver and his conductor, had been accounted for.

He said the accident claimed the lives of 19 men and 16 women. 

With the help of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) officers, Mr Komora said, the rescue team retrieved the wreckage of the bus from the river.

He said nine people injured in the accident were receiving treatment at Chuka County Referral Hospital, some in critical condition.

“We have officially called off the search and recovery mission at the Nithi River bridge Modern Coast bus accident and the number of deaths has risen to 35 after another person died while receiving treatment at Chuka hospital,” said Mr Komora.

Thanking the multi-agency team comprising the KDF, Tharaka Nithi County Rescue Team, Kenya Red Cross Society, Kenya National Highways Authority and the county security teams, Mr Komora lauded members of the public for volunteering to help.

He asked motorists using the road to be ‘extra’ keen when approaching the blackspot. 

He asked politicians who have covered the danger signage with campaign posters to remove them.

Mr Komora said the wall and guardrail at the bridge would be repaired.

Tharaka Nithi political leaders, led by Jubilee senatorial candidate Paul Mugambi, urged the government to consider redesigning that part of the road to reduce the corner at the bridge that is mainly blamed for the frequent accidents.

He also urged the government to investigate whether the bus was roadworthy.

“There are claims that the ill-fated bus was faulty and the deceased driver had to stop several times to check the brakes,” said Mr Mugambi.

The government has suspended the operations of the Modern Coast bus company.

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