By LINAH BENYAWA and ERNEST NDUNDA
Fourteen people died in a road accident involving three vehicles at Bonje, on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
The accident took place at a section where scrap metal dealers stolen guardrails, exposing motorists and pedestrians to danger.
A trailer that veered off its lane and rammed into a matatu and a saloon car on the opposite lane caused the 10am accident.
The accident happened a day after ten people died on Tuesday in two separate accidents on the same highway.
Coast Provincial Traffic Commandant Joshua Omukata confirmed the deaths and said the bodies were badly mutilated and in some cases only body parts were recovered from the wreckage.
Mr Omukata said the trailer pushed the two vehicles for over 100 metres on impact, damaging them extensively.
Police were even unable to identify which bodies were from which vehicle and appealed to the public to help in identification. Those killed were seven women and seven men.
“The lorry was travelling from Mariakani and crashed a saloon car and matatu going to Kaloleni,” said Omukata.
“One man was seriously injured and rushed to Pandya Memorial Hospital,” he added.
Omukata said the accident could have been caused by carelessness, but said they were yet to establish the exact cause.
It was evident some passengers in the matatu were coming from the market as vegetables and other goods were strewn all over the scene.
Hamisi Idi, who witnessed the accident, said he was walking home when he saw the trailer ram into the two vehicles.
The public rushed to the scene and tried to rescue people but most were trapped in the wreckage and they had no equipment to cut the metal.
“I suspect the lorry driver had set the vehicle on ‘free’ making it difficult to control,” said Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli. He added the Government has launched investigation.
“I can’t remember what happened because it happened very fast,” said Tobias Ngure, the lorry driver, at his hospital bed as medical personnel prepared to wheel him to theatre.
At the hospital, some people wailed uncontrollably after they learnt their relatives died in the accident.
Rabai constituency parliamentary aspirant Julius Saha said the accident was due to the theft of guardrails.
“The road is bare and authorities never arrest scrap metal thieves,” he said. Saha complained that Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) had neglected the area, exposing passengers and motorists to grave danger.
He said the dual carriageway was one of the most dangerous due to the heavy traffic. Kisauni MP Hassan Joho and Mombasa Mayor Ahmed Mohdhar visited the injured man in hospital.
Joho asked the public to protect the road network from people stealing guardrails. He said the guardrails are important for the survival of people during accidents.
“It is upon the local people to take charge of their lives by protecting the infrastructure from thugs,” he said.
Coast PC Ernest Munyi said KeNHA should provide detailed information on the theft of guardrails from the major highways and why there were no replacements.
Two Muslims who perished in the accident would be buried according to the Islamic rites.