Four die, scores hospitalised in Busia tanker tragedy

By Renson Buluma and Allan Kisia

Four people burnt to death as they siphoned petrol from an overturned tanker near Sio Bridge along the Busia- Kisumu road. Over 40 others were admitted in various hospitals in Western Province with serious burns.

Scores of people were also injured as the fled from the scene when the tanker burst into flames.

The incident happened barely 10 days after the Nairobi’s Sinai fire disaster that claimed over 100 lives.

The tragedy occurred at Sio Bridge near Naisiongo village, some 11 kilometres from Busia.

Witnesses said one of the villagers attempted to steal the tanker’s battery causing it to spark, starting the fire.

A nurse attends to a survivor at Busia district Hospital after a tanker burst into flames at Sio Bridge along the Busia-Kisumu road.[PHOTO: RENSON BULUMA/STANDARD]

When The Standard visited the scene, the completely burnt bodies lay together about five metres from the rear side of the tanker, an indication that the victims were trying to flee the spot.

Burnt bicycles, plastic containers as well as identification documents of the some of the victims were scattered around the scene.

Villagers said the tanker was heading to Busia from Kisumu when the driver lost control and plunged into a mushy bank of River Sio at around 7.45pm.

After the accident villagers rushed to the scene to siphon fuel.

Police, led by area OCPD Erastus Muthamia arrived at the scene and rushed survivors to Busia District Hospital.

Some of the survivors were found in the bushes writhing in pain. Six survivors were transferred to Kakamega Provincial General Hospital while others were taken to Alupe Sub-District Hospital.

Amagoro MP Sospeter Ojaamong, Western Upper Regional Commissioner Rashid Mahmud and Western PPO Benson Kisuyu were some of the leaders who visited the survivors at hospital.

Ojaamong said it was regrettable that the victims had been forewarned but did not heed.

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