A 19-year-old man last Saturday evening drowned in river Sagana at the bridge that connects Kirio village in Mathira Constituency and Muruguru ward in Nyeri Central Sub-county.
The deceased, Bernard Muhoro was with friends when they tried crossing the ramshackle bridge and accidentally slipped into the waters about three metres from the water falls that locals call ‘Kirurumo’.
Muhoro who sat his KCSE last year was expecting to join college but the river claimed his life too soon.
According to a relative Mrs. Grace Murugi from Ihwagi vllage in Mathira constituency where the deceased hailed from, she said they had gone to visit an aunt when the tragedy occurred.
“I am saddened by this incident. He was with his friends and was the last to attempt to cross the bridge and even now the body has not been retrieved,” Ms. Murugi lamented.
Murugi said she arrived at the scene at 7am and no assistance was coming from the national and county governments to help in finding the body.
The villagers who talked to the press blamed the county and national governments over the continued occurrence of drowning incidents due to the dilapidated bridge and demanded immediate reconstruction of the bridge.
Pastor Ruth Njeri who resides several metres from the bridge said they have pushed for the rehabilitation of the bridge for many years without success.
“Our souls are troubled; don’t we have a county government that can hear our cries. Our children are perishing here and this is not the first case; bodies are being retrieved from the river every so often leaving us in a trauma,” Njeri said.
The villagers appealed to the area MP, Rigathi Gachagua and Nyeri Governor, Mutahi Kahiga to come to their aid and hasten the construction of the bridge.
“We were told that this road falls under Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) but we know the leaders can fast track its construction to relief us from further sufferings and deaths,” Pastor Njeri said.
Another villager, Samuel Kinyua said he had sacrificed his time to help the elderly cross the bridge adding that it had claimed five lives in the recent past.
Two months ago, a fourth-year student at Dedan Kimathi University drowned about four metres from the bridge where he had gone for a swimming expedition with other students. His body was found a week later at Gatiki Bridge in Mukurwei-ni constituency about five kilometers from the Kirurumo falls.
By Mwangi Gaitha