Nithi Bridge accident: Death toll in Modern Coast bus crash rises to 34
At least 34 people are confirmed dead after a Mombasa-bound bus they were travelling in plunged into River Nithi along the Meru-Nairobi highway on Sunday evening. In a Monday morning update, Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner Nobert Komora also confirmed that 11 people had survived the grisly crash, but cautioned that the number of fatalities could rise since they were seriously injured.
County police commander, Ms Donatha Chali, said the bodies of the dead had been moved to mortuaries in Chuka County Referral and Chogoria PCEA hospitals.
Recovery efforts had resumed early Monday at the Nithi River bridge.
The accident happened at 6.40pm after the bus, which was travelling from Maua, fell off the bridge into the river about 40 metres below.
Based on witness accounts, the Modern Coast bus headed to Mombasa left Meru town at around 5pm Sunday. On reaching Nithi bridge, a notorious blackspot, witnesses say the driver appeared to lose control as the bus hurtled down the steep slope at top speed before plunging 40 metres into the river.
Witnesses also reported seeing the vehicle’s roof torn off when it hit the road’s guard rails, and that the bus rolled in the air first, then several times down the rocky path before hitting the river bank with a thud.
“Several accidents have occurred here but I’ve never seen anything like this,” a local resident, Martin Murimi, who was chewing miraa nearby, said.
“We were chewing miraa when we noticed the bus was moving at high speed. It first hit the rail and swerved back to the road as the driver tried to control it. Suddenly, I saw it hit the rails and drop down to the river,” he added.