Seven passengers died in a road accident involving a school bus ferrying mourners along the Pala-Homa Hills junction on the Kendu-Homa Bay highway on Friday, May 5.
The bus belonging to ACK Guu Secondary School had collided head-on with another vehicle while transporting mourners to a funeral at Pala Village in Rachuonyo North sub-county.
Police said the accident occurred at about 11.30 am when the driver lost control of the bus while negotiating a corner to leave the main road for another route towards Pala.
The bus had reportedly rolled over and landed in a ditch, injuring several while others died.
A witness had blamed a lorry driver transporting sand for triggering confusion while approaching the junction.
“Instead of stopping and letting the other driver pass, he moved past the bus and created confusion in the process,” he said, adding the lorry driver escaped after the accident.
Police rescued 32 of the 39 passengers who were in the vehicle. Also injured were boda boda riders parked under a shed.
The injured persons were taken to Kendu Bay sub-county Hospital, Homa Bay County Referral Hospital, and Kendu Adventist Hospital at Gendia.
“Many people have been seriously injured and they have been taken to various hospitals. People may have died but we cannot tell the exact number of those who died,” Homa Bay County Police Commander Samson Kinne said.
Rachuonyo North Sub-county Police Commander Lydia Parteiyie added that investigations were launched to establish the cause of the accident.
Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kipchumba Murkomen had initially stated that there was an urgent need to address the rampant cases of road accidents that led to the loss of 1,072 lives between January and March 2023.
“According to the latest report, of the 1,072 people killed on our roads, 362 are pedestrians, 302 are motorcyclists, 184 are passengers, 101 are pillion passengers, 104 are drivers while 19 are pedal cyclists. The number of passenger deaths is attributed to speeding vehicles, crossing at undesignated places, distracted driving or walking and drunk driving,” he stated.
A series of accidents involving school buses prompted Murkomen to announce new measures, especially after six students were killed in a tragic road accident along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway.
“On the issue of transportation of school children, it is prudent to enhance safety especially now that the schools are closing and our children are travelling home,” Murkomen stated on Wednesday, April 19.
Murkomen moved to immediately ban from the roads school vans, buses, and matatus that are unroadworthy. He further ordered that school transportation should be allowed between 5 am and 10 pm as outlined in the Traffic (Amendment) Act, 2017.
In addition, all school heads must ensure that the school buses should be retrofitted with functional seatbelts that must be worn at all times.