BY CORRESPONDENT,NAIROBI,5TH JUNE,2022-A dowry payment ceremony in Kitui County ended on a sour note after an overloaded Matatu ferrying the party crashed on Saturday night killing 11 passengers.
The accident happened some minutes to midnight near the Kanyonyoo junction along the Thika – Kitui highway, only four kilometers to the final destination.
The 14-seater matatu, which is alleged to have been overloaded up to 24 passengers, was ferrying people from Nzokani village in Kitui west, believed to be relatives from a dowry event in Mbondoni area in Mwingi west.
According to Kitui County Police Commander Leah Kithei, nine of them died on the spot while two others, who were among the critically injured, succumbed as they were being treated in hospital.
‘’The matatu lost control and rolled several times along a sloppy stretch before crashing. Nine people died instantly while two succumbed in hospital, one at Kitui level four hospital and the other at Matuu level four hospital’’ said Ms Kithei.
Ms Kithei confirmed that the vehicle which belonged to Nakimu Sacco had excess passengers whose number police had not properly established but area assistant chief Jacob Mueti, who was among the first responders at the scene told the Nation that the vehicle had 24 passengers.
She said the matatu driver escaped from accident scene but has been traced and found lying unconscious this morning.
He had suffered broken limbs and fractured hand.
‘’So far we have accounted for 19 passengers including the dead and the injured passengers in hospitals meaning the 14 seater matatu was ferrying an excess of five passengers but we’re still investigating to establish the exact number of passengers involved’’ the police commander explained.
However, the assistant chief said he was driving from the same dowry function behind the ill-fated matatu and took charge of the accident scene in rescuing the injured and retrieving the dead, who were all known to him.
He confirmed counting nine bodies which were pulled from the matatu, and 15 passengers six of whom were critically injured and who he arranged to have them rushed to Matuu and Kitui public hospitals for treatment.
“The matatu had 24 passengers on board including the driver and are people from my sub location known to me personally. The two who died at the hospital were among the six critically injured” he said.
Mr Mueti said among the dead include six members of two families – a woman and her son, and a woman, her daughter in law and two sisters.
‘’The matatu had been hired to ferry the dowry party in trips and that was the last trip from Mbondoni having two trips earlier in the evening” said the administrator.
The couple, who led the dowry event and their three school going children survived the accident with various degrees of injuries and are among the 13 passengers undergoing treatment in hospital.
The affected families are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy as they trooped to hospital to see the injured.