4 killed as truck rams ferry

Eleven people died after a lorry lost control and rammed a ferry at the Likoni Channel in Mombasa January 26, 2013. GIDEON MAUNDU

What you need to know:

  • Early morning accident leaves 31 people injured as trailer driver loses control of vehicle and hits an anchored ferry at the Likoni channel

Four people were killed and 31 others seriously injured on Saturday when a trailer rammed into a ferry as passengers boarded at the Likoni channel.

Witnesses said the loaded trailer was going down the ramp when its brakes appeared to fail, causing it to hurtle down the steep inclination at high speed, catching passengers and cyclists unawares.

Were it not for the shouts of “danger” from those who saw the trailer hurtling down, Mr Daniel Munyao who was aboard mv Likoni said, the accident would have caused more deaths.

“I was among the first people to board the ferry when I heard a bang and the vessel shook violently. Then cries warning people of imminent danger rent the air,” he said.

He said he saw three women trapped underneath the trailer while many other people lay injured on the ferry and ramp.

The 6.45 am accident caused a huge human and vehicular congestion on both sides of the channel during the peak hour. People jammed the mainland ramp to see if they could recognise any of the victims.

When the Sunday Nation arrived at the scene, the injured were being ferried by good Samaritans to a nearby health centre for first-aid before being taken to different hospitals.

Police led by the Likoni deputy OCPD Moss Ndiwa had a hectic time controlling the milling crowds that had blocked the mainland ramp making it difficult to move the injured.

The injured were taken to Aga Khan Hospital (eight), Coast Provincial General Hospital (10), Likoni District Hospital (eight), Navy Hospital (two), Savannah Hospital (two) and Nyali Children’s Hospital (one).

Mr Ndiwa confirmed that three women died on the spot. A boy aged about 10 later succumbed to injuries at Aga Khan Hospital.

The Kenya Ferry Services managing director, Mr Musa Hassan Musa, said the trailer’s brakes had failed, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

“It’s unfortunate people going for their errands have lost lives in this incident. We call upon commuters to always be vigilant when using the channel,” he said.

The fate of the trailer’s driver was unclear. But the lorry and its cargo plunged into the sea.

Survivors recounted how they cheated death.

Mr Fredrick Odongo, 32, speaking from his hospital bed at the Coast Provincial Hospital, said it was painful to watch fellow commuters being knocked down by the trailer.

Mr Odongo, who was headed to work, said many commuters suffered injuries as they scampered for safety trying to avoid being hit by the trailer. He was injured in the commotion.

Another survivor, Mrs Kezia Kale, who was in a neighbouring bed with chest and leg injuries, said she was happy to be alive.

A woman standing next to her, she said, was killed on the spot when the trailer ploughed into the crowd.

“I clasped the ferry rails and held onto them, almost plunging into the sea, but luckily I got an escape route,” said Ms Kale who works at Ganjoni residential area.