NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – At least 13 Kenyans were confirmed dead after two buses they were travelling were involved in an accident in Tanga, Tanzania early on Friday morning.
The dead were part of a group of women from the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Landless parish in Thika who were heading for a mission in the neighbouring country.
The group was travelling in two buses when one of the vehicles veered off the road. The second bus was then hit from behind after it stopped for the occupants to offer assistance to those in the other bus.
It’s not immediately clear if those killed were in one or both buses.
At least 40 other women were injured in the accident that occurred at a bridge near Tanga.
“While they were trying to help the other bus a speeding lorry hit the other stationary one forcing it to land on the group that was trying to save their colleagues near the bridge,” said the witness.
There were fears the fatalities might rise as there were many other people trapped under the bus. Efforts to save the trapped kicked off early on Friday.
Kenyan police said preliminary findings showed there were 84 members of the church who were headed for a mission in Dar-es-Salaam and eventually Zanzibar.
On Friday afternoon, President Mwai Kibaki directed the military to send aircraft and helicopters to Tanzania to evacuate the injured for medical treatment in Kenya.
He described the accident as tragic.
The accident follows another in Tanzania earlier in the week where 22 people died and tens of others were left injured.
On Tuesday, 17 passengers died while 77 others sustained injuries after their bus overturned in Sikonge District, Tabora Region.
The bus belonging to Sabena Transport Company was travelling to Mbeya from Tabora when it overturned after a tyre burst.
A day earlier, five people died and three others were injured in Morogoro along the Morogoro-Iringa highway following a head-on collision.
Meanwhile in Kenya, mobile service provider Safaricom, has partnered with the Media Owners Association to form the National Road Safety Trust.
The Trust will spearhead a countrywide road safety initiative to address the alarmingly high rates of road carnage.
The trust brings together government, private sector and civil society in a collaborative endeavour to address factors that have contributed to increased incidences of traffic related injuries and fatalities.
Most road accidents in Kenya are caused by factors including careless driving, drunk driving and visual impairment.
A study done by Kenyatta National Hospital reveals that 55 percent of road users have poor eyesight and should not be driving at night.