Sunday, 11 December 2016

Oil truck fireball kills at least 42 in central Kenya

A fireball from an oil lorry engulfed vehicles on one of Kenya's main highways, killing at least 42 people late on Saturday, a rescue worker at the scene said.

The tanker lorry rammed into vehicles north of the central town of Naivasha then exploded, an official with the National Disaster Management Authority said.

"More bodies are still trapped inside the burned vehicles," Red Cross volunteer Moha Maris told Reuters.

The government gave a lower death toll. "The information that we have is that 13 vehicles were involved and so far we have retrieved 33 bodies," Irungu Nyakera, Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, told a news conference.

The vehicle went out of control while going downhill on the road from the capital of Nairobi to Naivasha late on Saturday, said Mwachi Pius Mwachi, the deputy director and communications officer for the National Disaster Management Unit.

“This is a serious chemical incident,” Mwachi said. “Police and other rescuers are still on the scene … clearing debris.”

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people acquire vehicles in the country’s growing middle class.

In 2013 the government reintroduced breathalysers to limit accidents blamed on drunk drivers.

According to the National Transport and Safety Authority 1,574 died in road accidents in the first half of 2016 – 86 more deaths than in the same period of 2015.

An official in Naivasha said 50 people were being treated in several hospitals for burns, eight of them in a serious condition.

In 2009, more than 100 people burned to death near the central town of Molo after a lorry carrying petrol caught fire.

Sunday 11 December 2016


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