Survivors Recount Terrifying Mutindwa Train Crash
It was an ordinary ride to work for 33 residents of Umoja Estate. As usual, many had woken up early and boarded the Umoinner Sacco bus hoping to reach to work on time.
But as fate would have it, a speeding train rushing to pick passengers in Dandora Estate crashed into the bus.
The 7am crash is the worst at the crossing since the road was opened in December last year.
William Ogun was among the passengers in the bus. He is among those who were lucky to survive and perhaps because he sat in the last row seats.
“I was engrossed in my phone when I heard screams and tried to catch a glimpse of the approaching train,” Ogun said of the last moments before he heard a loud bang.
“Just then the train hit our bus and started pushing us on the side.” Everything happened so fast that he did not think of jumping off. He was on his way to his workstation at the Westlands branch of Chase Bank.
Ogun was at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital where he was waiting for an X-ray to determine the extent of injury to his hipbone. He could not stand up.
Alfred Omondi, another survivor, said the last thing he remembered was that the bus had stalled and everyone was struggling to escape before the crash.
Most of the survivors suffered deep cuts on their limbs and upper bodies. Severed body parts were recovered along the track of the grisly accident.
Dr Julius Ogato, medical superintendent at the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital confirmed that five survivors were admitted to the facility with serious injuries.
“We have admitted five victims who were in very serious condition but two others have been treated and discharged,” said Dr Ogato.
At Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), a shaken Sarah Wanja said she was lucky to be alive.
Wanja, a student at Kenya Institute of Management, was heading to college.
“The driver of the bus was rushing to cross to the other side before the train passed. He ignored the hooting train and screams from passengers to stop,” said Wanja as she groaned in pain. Wanja explained that every morning, the train usually stops at Mutindwa to allow passengers to alight as well as pick commuters, meaning that buses and other vehicles have to wait for at least 15 minutes to get to the other side of the level crossing.
This is what the matatu driver, identified as Edward Githae, was trying to avoid.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia was among government officials who visited survivors.
“The doctors were ready to receive victims of the accident. They are doing all they can to save lives. Unfortunately, two succumbed to their injuries upon arrival,” said Macharia.
KNH CEO Simon Monda said the hospital received 17 people, eight females and nine males.
- The Standard