Five schoolgirls killed as lorry rolls into ditch

Updated: August 17, 2011

Five schoolgirls were killed when a lorry taking them home from a Catholic church music festival in Makueni county crashed.

The accident occurred at Kateta area on the Kilome-Salama road in Kilome constituency, Mukaa district at about 7.30pm on Monday night. The area is widely known as a blackspot.

Three of the girls were Standard Eight pupils at Itumbule primary in Mukaa District while the other two were Form One students at Kima secondary school.

Witnesses said the lorry was carrying about 70 people and some logs. Among the passengers were parents of the children who had gone to participate in the competition or to cheer their teams in the festival at Kyale Catholic Church.

“The lorry suddenly started moving faster, then rolled, throwing us out. We were all screaming. It was dark and it was difficult to see where the others had been thrown,” said a victim, Mr Lazarus Musayo Matayo, who was on Tuesday transferred from Machakos Level Five Hospital to Shalom Community Hospital.

“I had earlier complained that the bus was carrying too many people and was travelling too fast. As I was telling fellow passengers about my fears, there was a big bang and the next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed. I cannot tell for sure how I got here,” Mr Matayo said.

On Tuesday, Mukaa DC Julius Otieno said the driver had been arrested. He said it was wrong to transport 70 people in a lorry.

“We have arrested the driver,” Mr Otieno said.

He said it as unfortunate that such young lives had been lost due to negligence.

The girls were aged between 13 and 15.

“One girl died on the spot, another two died while being treated at a sub-district hospital and the rest at the Machakos Level Five hospital,” Mr Otieno said.

At least 42 passengers were admitted on Monday night and by Tuesday, 32 were still hospitalised.


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