Another member of the family that lost 6 in Salama accident succumbs

Irene Muthoni, 37 who died in the Salama accident. [Courtesy]

One more person, a member of the family that lost 6 members from April 1, 2024 freak road crash at Salama in Makueni County along Nairobi-Mombasa highway, died yesterday bringing the death toll to 7.

Joyce Muthoni, 7, who has been in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a Nairobi hospital succumbed to injuries Sunday morning.

There was somber mood as the family yesterday held a memorial service at the PCEA Lanet, Nakuru head of the burial next Tuesday in Kuresoi North.

The accident which involved five vehicles claimed eleven lives on the spot, a majority of them members of the same family heading home after spending Easter weekend at the Coast.

Those who died include Reverend Francis Mwangi, 61, his sister-in-law Irene Muthoni, 37, and her children Lemmy Macharia, 12, and Joyce Wairimu aged 2.

Others who died in the Monday night crash that claimed a total of eleven lives are the late Mwangi’s nieces Esther Nyambura, 14, and Esther Wanjiru aged 8.

Five other members of the family are still recuperating in various hospitals in Nairobi, Nakuru, and Eldoret.

The late Muthoni had been admitted in Nairobi alongside her 24-year-old cousin Samwel Macharia.

Shadrack Mbao, 40, and his nephew Samwel Macharia, 35 who are Kenya Prisons officers sustained serious hands and legs fractures and are receiving care at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

James Karanja and Daniel Waciuri were moved to Nakuru PGH Annex Hospital.

In an earlier interview with the family, details emerged that the late Rev Mwangi who preaches at church in Karirikania Village, Kuresoi North may have had a premonition of the accident.

“Before leaving Mombasa, Mwangi prayed for us and was very emotional. This was unlike him. He announced blessings on us and gave us advice on how we should live. It was like he was bidding us goodbye,” said Joseph Ng’ang’a, a brother of the late Mwangi.

The family had left Nakuru for Mombasa on Thursday and arrived at the Coast on Friday morning for a family gathering, some of them traveling by private means and others by bus.

“We had a happy time and met as a family on Saturday. On Sunday, we went to explore the beach and other areas,” said Ng’ang’a.

His wife Diana Ng’ang’a narrated how the children were happily reuniting for the Easter holiday describing them as mindful of each other.

“While swimming in the ocean, you could see the love and care they had for each other. We felt that even the young ones were in safe hands in the waters,” said Diana.

On Monday last week, the family of about 40 members departed for their respective homes but a last-minute decision to change their means of transport landed them in the ill-fated matatu.

“They had booked a bus which was to leave Mombasa at night. Since they got ready early, we agreed that they board the Spanish matatu, an 18-seater passenger vehicle,” said Diana.

Those who found space in the family vehicles left earlier while others traveled by air and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

“When we got to Gilgil, our relatives who boarded the Spanish matatu called saying that there was an accident. On calling again they told us it was them who had been involved,” said Diana.

They turned and went back to the scene of the accident where they found six had died on the spot while the injured had been rushed to Makindu Hospital.

“We have moved the bodies of the six to Umash Funeral Home in Nakuru. We are now in the process of planning the funeral and how the medical bills for the injured will be cleared,” said Jesse Manyara, a brother of the late Mwangi.

The family appealed to well-wishers to support them saying that the expenses were huge for them.

“The medical bill and the funeral expenses are about Sh3 million. Medical bills for those in hospital are however soaring every day. We were not ready for this in any way,” said Manyara.