|Wreckage of the 14-seater matatu that plunged into a valley in Nandi Hills killing 15 people. (Photo:Kevin Tunoi/Standard)|
By Cyrus Ombati
Kenya: At least 15 people died Tuesday morning after a matatu they were traveling in plunged into a valley at Chepsangor area along Nandi Hills-Chemelil road.
At least two sustained serious injuries and were rushed to the Nandi Hills district hospital for emergency treatment.
Police warned the death toll could increase because the survivors had sustained serious wounds.
While police said 15 people had been killed, Kenya Red Cross officials, whose volunteers were reported to be at the scene coordinating emergency rescue, placed the death toll at 16.
“Sisxteen feared dead and 3 casualties evacuated to Nandi Hills district hospital,” an update on the society’s official twitter handle stated.
Police said the 14-seater matatu was ferrying passengers from Eldoret, through Kapsabet to Kisii when the accident occurred at Chepsangor shortly after 9am.
“We have had a very bad accident in Nandi Hills area where ten people have died,” national traffic police chief Samuel Kimaru said on telephone.
He said preliminary findings show the accidents happened because of speeding.
Police however, insisted that the matatu was only carrying 14 passengers.
It was not immediately clear if any of the dead were people hit by the vehicle as it went downhill.
Kenya’s road safety record is one of the worst, with 3,200 people having been killed in road accidents in the country in 2013.
At the weekend, at least 12 other passengers were killed when a vehicle that they were traveling in was hit by a speeding trailer. On Sunday night, five other people were killed in a collision in Maanzoni area along the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway.
Night travel has been banned as part of efforts to curb the rising road accidents, raising uproar from public transport operators affected, who have unsuccessfully challenged the move in court.