Twenty-four people have been confirmed dead after a bus plunged 40 metres off a bridge into the Nithi River in central Kenya.
The accident occurred along the busy Meru-Nairobi highway when the 57-seat bus at a high speed on a steep slope crashed into the guardrails of the bridge and lost control, tumbling into the river, police said on Sunday.
The bus, belonging to Modern Coast bus services, was heading for the coastal town of Mombasa from the Meru town when the accident occurred at around 6 pm local time.
Tharaka Nithi County Rescue team manager, Alex Mugambi, spoke to the media at the site of the accident and noted that “rescue efforts are under way and locals have been really helpful” during the search and rescue operations.
“I cannot ascertain the number of people who were inside the bus, but for now, the figures that I can give you is that 24 people have been confirmed dead in that accident, and the doctors and the medics are trying to save some lives of those critically injured.”
Mugambi, who is leading the operation alongside emergency services and the police, also added that the injured had been rushed to the Chogoria and Chuka County referral hospitals.
Blackspot for drivers
The Nithi River bridge has been a blackspot for many years and drivers have been warned to slow down when passing through the area.
At least 20 passengers were killed on July 8 in a crash along the highway from Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa.
Last year, five people were killed after their minibus plunged into the river at the same location injuring many others, while last month, one passenger was killed at the same location.
In 2015, three people were killed at the same spot after a bus belonging to Sunbird Company plunged into the Nithi River bridge, and dozens were injured in the accident.