The death toll to the Nithi bridge tragic accident reached 34 after more bodies of casualties in the ill-fated bus were recovered during an overnight search and rescue operations at the scene of the incident.
Eastern Regional Commissioner Evans Achoki confirmed that the fatalities had reached 34 after the Modern Coast bus they were travelling in lost control and plunged into River Nithi along the Meru-Nairobi Highway on Sunday Evening.
The accident occurred at around 6.30pm after the bus hit a Nissan Xtrail and fell off the bridge into river Nithi about 40 meters below.
He confirmed that 11 people survived the grisly accident and were rushed to Chuka General Hospital and PCEA Chogoria Mission for treatment where the deceased were booked at the morgue of th4e same facility.
Achoki however expressed fears that five of the passengers enlisted the bus manifest could not be accounted for but said plans were underway to move the wreckage in case some of the missing people were crashed underneath the bus during the accident.
“We have only managed to account for 40 passengers out of the 45 that were on board but we are working round the clock to establish their whereabouts” he said.
The commissioner said according to investigations, the bus could have developed brake failure making it hard for the driver to navigate the sharp corner at the bridge.
Chuka based commander Philip Akoro said the bus hit a Nissan Xtrail that was coming from the opposite direction before it lost control and fell into the river killing 24 people on the spot.
He said that they are working with Kenya National Highway Authority (KenHA), Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Defense Forces to recover the bodies that might still be trapped underneath the river as well as the bus wreckage.
The rescue team will also continue on a rescue mission to find the other missing five passengers.
Achoki urged motorists to exercise caution as they approach the Nithi Bridge and observe the signs indicating a blackspot.
He added that they are working with KeNHA to put up more signs for motorists as they approach the bridge.
The administrator urged motorists to drive with caution especially during this political season.
Furthermore, the commissioner expressed that the victims’ families will be contacted by the Red Cross team and the county commissioner’s office.
He revealed discussions are underway with KeNHA to redesign the road to avoid future accidents.
By Sharon Gitau