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Pwani University students among 16 killed in Naivasha accident

 The Pwani University students were heading to Nakuru from Nairobi when the accident occurred. [Anthony Gitonga, Standard]

Sixteen people died in a road accident in Kayole on the Naivasha-Nakuru Highway when a college bus hit a matatu.

Among those killed are eight students of Pwani University who were travelling to Eldoret for a sports event.

A sombre mood engulfed Pwani University in Mombasa on Thursday, March 30, when news of the accident reached the college. 

The accident occurred at Kayole on the Naivasha-Nakuru highway.

Police said over 50 passengers were injured, 30 of them seriously.

Pwani University Vice Chancellor James Kahindi said the students were heading to the University of Eldoret’s Chepkoilel campus for a national sports event.

“The college had 120 students (in two buses), four drivers and a sports officer. We are still waiting for police to confirm the exact number of fatalities from the bus,” Prof Kahindi told The Standard. “I wish the injured students a quick recovery,” said Kahindi.

Allan Ochieng, Pwani University student leader, said the death of the students has really affected them.

Brian Safari, an agriculture student, who was to take the trip, said he cancelled after he fell ill.

“I was on the journey, but on the last preparation, I fell ill, so I decided to remain behind. I thank God, and I wish my colleagues a quick recovery,’’ Safari said.

The midday accident occurred 10 kilometres from Naivasha town after the bus rammed into the rear of the matatu.

Both vehicles veered off the road and landed in a ditch, killing eight on the spot. The other victims were pronounced dead on arrival at Naivasha sub-county hospital.

Witnesses said the speeding bus whose brakes seemed to have failed kept hooting and flashing its lights before hitting the matatu that had slowed down on the highway.

At the scene, screams rent the air as members of the public and police moved in to rescue tens of students trapped in the wreckage.

According to Naivasha OCPD Samuel Waweru, the full bus was ferrying the students to Eldoret for college games.

 The bus lost control and rammed into the rear of the matatu. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Brake failure

Speaking on phone, he said that initial investigations indicated that the bus’s brakes failed and it hit a matatu that had 14 passengers.

“We have so far lost 16 people to the accident and over 50 are undergoing treatment at the Naivasha sub-county hospital while the bodies have been taken to the mortuary,” he said.

A witness, James Gikonyo, narrated how the speeding bus missed several cars on the highway by a whisker before hitting the matatu.

He said the impact caused the two vehicles to veer off the road and land in a ditch.

“The bus was going at a high speed and kept hooting before hitting the Nissan matatu and as a result, many people have died,” he said.

Former Lakeview MCA Simon Wanyoike noted that the section of the road had become a black-spot with six accidents reported in the last two months.

He blamed a recently constructed drainage for the deaths, noting that they had called the agency responsible to cover it but their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

“The contractor left the drainage open and this has turned out to be the killer point, including today’s incident where we have lost 16 people,” he said. Another witness Ruth Wambui said that only a child was saved from the matatu which was on its way to Nakuru.

The university bus caused the accident after the driver lost control and crashed into the matatu before landing in a ditch,” she said.

Other witnesses Ruth Ngina and Nickson Musalia called for the expansion of the road, noting that fatal accidents around the area were on the rise.

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