Emotional send-off for family killed in Kaburengu crash

Kaburengu bridge crash victims burial

The caskets bearing the remains of for victims of the August 21 Kaburengu bridge crash during the funeral ceremony at Ebwali Primary School in Luanda, Vihiga County on September 4, 2021.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Four of the six relatives who perished in a road crash at the Kaburengu bridge along Eldoret-Webuye road were buried Saturday in an emotional ceremony that was held at Ebwali Primary School in Luanda, Vihiga County.

The four are Richard Osimbo Nganyi, 75, Rebecca Osimbo Nganyi, 71, Rosebella Kepha Nganyi, 59, and John Nyambaka Omutiali, 71, all members of one family.

Two other victims were buried in different locations.

Mr Martin Zare Olenja, a nephew of the Nganyis, was buried on Saturday while Vincent Asiema Ngusale, who was driving the Toyota Probox vehicle the victims were travelling in, was laid to rest in Maragoli.

Mr Stanley Osimbo, who had sent his relatives to visit his in-laws on the fateful day, said the accident disoriented the unity that their extended family has been enjoying.

"Our family is big but we are united and relate as a single entity. That is why relatives from different homes had come together for this occasion. It pains me a lot because I bear the burden of their deaths; it is a heavy burden," said Mr Osimbo.

Moved mourners

Mr Omutiali’s widow, Caroline Omutiali, moved mourners when she narrated how she had prepared her husband's clothes and shoes to ensure they were up to the occasion.

"I escorted him to the vehicle and gave him a jovial bye without knowing it was the last time we were seeing each other," she said.

Meanwhile, politicians who attended the burial called on the relevant authorities to expand the roads to reduce accidents.

Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo, his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya, Senator George Khaniri, Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala and MPs Justus Kezito (Shinyalu) and Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) attended the burial.

Expand road

They called on the Kenya national Highways Authority (Kenha) to expand the road between Chimoyi in Kakamega and Panpaper in Bungoma and also erect more bumps to ensure vehicles do not speed at the area that is marked as a black spot.

Mr Ottichilo said that four years ago, 16 people from the same family in Mahanga village in Luanda perished at the same spot.

He said governors from western region will spearhead the improvement of the area to reduce accidents at the spot.

Senator Khaniri said something has to be done to reduce road crashes in the area.

“I'll move a motion in the Senate to compel Kenha to improve the road further," he said.

He petitioned MPs from the Western region to push for the same at the National Assembly.

His sentiments were echoed by the other leaders who promised to take the matter collectively in order to find a solution to the Kaburengu road menace.

Mr Oparanya regretted that four days after the six Vihiga victims died in the accident, seven others were burnt at Mukhonje, a few Kilometres from Kaburengu.

“We are now putting everything before God and tomorrow (Sunday), we shall hold interdenominational prayers at Kaburengu to seek guidance from the Lord,” Oparanya said.

Mr Osotsi regretted that the driver who was ferrying the relatives was to graduate with a PhD in December.

"I am highly touched by the death of five relatives and the driver of the Probox car. More painful is the realisation that he (driver) was an academician who was destined to graduate with a PhD in December," Mr Osotsi said.

The victims were travelling to Kitale on August 21 to attend a relative's dowry negotiation ceremony when they died in the tragic crash.

Several other people were injured in the crash that involved a fuel tanker, a lorry, two cars and a pick-up truck.

All those who died were travelling in the Probox car which was heading to Webuye from Vihiga.

Lost control

Police in Bungoma said the driver of the lorry lost control of the vehicle and hit a saloon car which burst into flames before landing on the banks of River Nzoia.

The saloon car rammed into the pick-up before it hit the Probox car, police said.  

The families of the dead victims had to wait for DNA tests to identify their bodies, which were burnt beyond recognition, before burial.


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