One of the survivors of the Naivasha tragedy has given an account of the happenings before, during and after the accident which led to the death of over 30 people.
Addressing journalists at the Naivasha Police Station on Sunday, December 11, 2016 Simon Kanake explained how lucky he was to survive the tragedy, though raising concerns over the whereabouts of his father, who was with him during the accident.
Mr Kanake, who was driving from Nakuru to Nairobi, said it all began with a bang, an explosion and a ball of flames.
“There was a vehicle in front that seemed to have been knocked and thrown up (by the tanker) and before we realized it, we were being pushed back by vehicles that were in front of us as huge flames came out direction,” he stated.
“Moments later, the roof of our vehicle was engulfed in fire and there was commotion everywhere. I called my dad and my wife and told them to get out, as I struggled to unbuckle. I don’t know how I managed to get out,” he said.
Kanake said that when he was finally out, he saw his wife following him but could not trace his father.
The accident, which occurred at Karai area on the Naivasha-Nakuru road, was caused by a canter mini-van, with a Ugandan registration plate, that was ferrying inflammable materials.
According to Joseph Muthee, a traffic police officer, the canter lost control after hitting a road bump with the impact causing it to explode into flames.
The canter, which was on its way from Mombasa to Uganda, rammed into vehicles from oncoming traffic.
Of those killed in the accident, several were burned beyond recognition after 10 vehicles caught fire.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD leader Raila Odinga are among the leaders who have condoled with the families of those who died in the accident.
In a statement sent to media houses by State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, President Kenyatta said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of those who lost their lives.
“Last night, as a result of a grisly and unnecessary accident, 39 people were killed along the Naivasha-Nakuru Road. Scores more people were injured and are admitted to hospital.
“The fatalities included 11 officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) who provide VIP protection, including to His Excellency the President.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta wishes to express his condolences to the families of all the bereaved, including the young families of the gallant officers from the GSU. He also wishes all the injured quick recovery,” stated President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila Odinga in his message of condolences termed the accident as the most horrific this year.
“This is a terrible time and a painful way to lose a family member or a friend, just when we are all looking forward to marking Christmas and celebrating the New Year,” said Raila Odinga.
“Mama Ida and I pass our deepest condolences to the families that have lost loved ones in this accident and wish speedy recovery to the wounded. I understand that a number of our security officers who were on the road on duty are among the casualties.”
“It is a terrible loss to the country and to their families. We join their families and colleagues in prayers. We also extend deep appreciation of the security officers at the scene of the accident struggling at this moment to identify bodies and to get the traffic moving again.”
Raila called on Kenyans to exercise caution on the road to avoid loss of lives.