I thank God I’m alive, says survivor of Gilgil crash that claimed 9 lives - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 13 February 2021

I thank God I’m alive, says survivor of Gilgil crash that claimed 9 lives

 

Ms Mercy Wacuka, 27, who was among four survivors of a tragic dawn accident that killed eight people on the Nairobi-Nakuru road on Friday, counts herself lucky to be alive.

She and her five-year-old son narrowly escaped death in the horror accident that claimed the life of her husband and eight others when the vehicle they were travelling in crashed in Gilgil.

accident

The wreckage of the matatu was towed to Gilgil Police Station. 

Joseph Openda| Nation Media Group

Ms Wacuka and her family were on their way to Nairobi to check on her father-in-law, who is unwell.

They left their home in Kihingo, Njoro sub-county, at 2am to Nakuru town, hoping to catch the early-morning shuttle to Nairobi.

Their plan was to get to Nairobi as early as possible.

"My husband, son and I got our seats behind the driver’s and by 4am we had left for Nairobi. I was feeling exhausted so I decided to take a nap,” said Ms Wacuka.

Nine die, four injured in early morning road crash on Nakuru-Nairobi highway.

Their journey was, however, cut short when their vehicle collided head-on with a truck, killing eight people on the spot. The ninth person succumbed to injuries on arrival at a hospital in Gilgil.

She said her first action was to check on her family in the midst of chaos at the scene of the accident.

She could hear her son and other people screaming in pain.

The spotted her husband lying unconscious, stuck in the mangled wreck of the vehicle they had been travelling in.

Terrified and in pain, she fished out her phone to alert her mother-in-law, Ms Esther Mumbi, on what had befallen them.

Ms Mumbi told the Saturday Nation she received a phone call from her daughter-in-law at around 4.30am and she could tell something was amiss.

“Her voice was shaky as she tried to explain the situation. She said their vehicle had been involved in an accident and that her husband was stuck in the wreckage and unconscious,” said Ms Mumbi.

Commotion

Ms Mumbi recounted that just then her daughter-in-law went silent and all she could hear was a commotion in the background.

“Someone took her phone and explained to me that he was at the scene of an accident where many people had died and that the owner of the phone had fainted. I was shocked. I immediately alerted my neighbours and we rushed to the scene," said Ms Mumbi.

accident Gilgil

The wreckages of the Mololine Shuttle that was involved in a crash in Gilgil on February 12, 2021. 

Joseph Openda | Nation Media Group

Upon arrival at St Joseph’s Mission Hospital, she was informed that her daughter-in-law was recuperating well and that her grandson had escaped unhurt.

She, however, could not find her son at the hospital, so she decided to look for him at the mortuary.

“I found my son’s mangled body lying at the Gilgill sub-county hospital morgue,” said Ms Mumbi.

After gaining consciousness, Ms Wacuka could not believe they had survived the accident. At the time of the interview, she was not aware her husband had died.

“I only suffered bruises but my son is safe. I, however, don’t know where my husband is but I’ve been informed that so many people lost their lives,” said Ms Wacuka.

The woman, now a widow, said the family had planned to spend at least three days with her father-in-law in Nairobi.

Overtaking

Gilgil sub-county police commander John Onditi said the matatu was ferrying 14 passengers to Nairobi before it collided with a truck.

At least nine people were confirmed dead while five others were admitted to different hospitals with injuries.

Mr Onditi said the truck, which was heading towards Nakuru, was trying to overtake another vehicle before it collided with the oncoming matatu at around 5 am.

The officer in charge of St Joseph’s Mission Hospital, Mr Dominic Mutua, said they received five patients from the accident scene but one had died.

He said two of the patients had serious injuries and were referred to Nakuru Level Five Hospital while the remaining two were treated and their condition had stabilised.

Police, however, revealed that the shuttle had flouted Covid-19 prevention guidelines by carrying its maximum capacity in total disregard of the social distance protocol set last year by the Ministry of Health.

Mr Onditi said the matatu was ferrying 14 passengers to Nairobi before it collided with another truck.

Nakuru County Disaster Management Chief Officer Ann Njenga visited the morgue to condole with the bereaved families, assuring them of the county government’s support.

Ms Njenga said Nakuru County has been keen to eradicate deadly road accidents in the region, adding that plans are underway to have a dual carriageway between Nakuru and Nairobi.

She, however, cautioned matatu operators against flouting the Covid-19 regulations saying action would be taken on the culprits.

“Governor Lee Kinyanjui is very keen on ending accidents along this highway and that is why he has been lobbying the national government to upgrade the Nakuru-Nairobi highway into a dual carriageway. We also want to encourage our drivers to strictly adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 prevention,” said Ms Njenga.

The wreckages of the vehicles were towed to Gilgil Police Station.

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