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Five killed as truck plunges into River Nzoia

WESTERN
By Alex Wakhisi | January 30th 2017
A trailer that was transporting molasses broke a bridge and fell into River Nzoia killing 5people. (Photo: Duncan Ocholla/Standard)

Five people have died after a truck carrying molasses plunged into River Nzoia at Sikubale in Navakholo, Kakamega County. 

The metallic bridge collapsed rendering the road impassable. Eye witnesses said that the truck was overloaded with molasses.

The 8pm accident left many people, among them school-going children, stranded as they could not cross the river to either Kakamega or Bungoma.

The bridge links Navakholo Constituency in Kakamega and Webuye West in Bungoma.

"I confirm the accident happened around 8pm. The truck was carrying molasses. It was trying to cross Sikubale Bridge but unfortunately the bridge collapsed and the truck fell inside the river with all people on board," said Navakholo OCPD Paul Kuria.

Speaking at the scene of the accident, he asked road users to be careful while using the roads especially during the rainy season.

"Residents should now use alternative routes to cross the river. Motorists should be careful this rainy season to reduce accidents," he said.

A witness, Joseph Wawire alleged that the accident was as a result of weak bridge caused by heavy trucks crossing the river.

He said the bridge can only hold a truck with a maximum of 10 tons adding that the truck was loaded with molasses of over 20 tons.

"The truck was heavily loaded and the bridge could not sustain it. It landed into the river with all five occupants whom we fear have died," said Wawire.

Another witness, Ronald Ngao said the five people on board were a driver, his co-driver, two ladies and a boy from the locality who was showing them direction.

"Heavy trucks have been using this road to escape from Webuye weighbridge, for the last two weeks the trucks have weakened the bridge and it could no longer hold heavily loaded trucks," said Ngao.

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe asked motorists to be careful while using the bridges as some bridges cannot hold excess weight.

He asked the national and county governments (Kakamega and Bungoma) to reconstruct the bridge to ease transport in the area.

“The bridge has been key to the economy of the two counties. The ministry of infrastructure through KERRA should move with speed to reconstruct the bridge,” he said.

"Motorists should know the weight of their load and stop using roads and bridges that cannot withstand heavy load.”

His words were echoed by Lugari MP Ayub Savula who appealed for support from the national government to reconstruct the bridge.

Officials from Kakamega and Bungoma had arrived at the scene to aide in retrieving the bodies from the river.

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