NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s dangerous roads again claimed the lives of dozens of people in a gruesome bus accident west of Nairobi on Thursday morning.
A passenger bus crashed through a barrier at a sharp curve, flipped over, and had its roof shorn off, the Kenya Red Cross said in a statement. According to the Red Cross, 41 people were killed immediately and another 39 people with severe injuries were taken to a hospital in the town of Narok.
Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru told Standard Media in Kenya that the driver crashed into the guardrail.
“From our investigations, the driver did not even attempt to brake or negotiate the corner,” Kimaru said. “He seemed to have slept.”
The driver was believed to be alive, and authorities were trying to locate him.
The accident occurred about a two-hour drive west of Nairobi at about 2 a.m. The bus was traveling from Nairobi to Homa Bay on Lake Victoria when it went off the road. The NTV news channel said that there were two accidents last week at the same curve, leaving a total of 10 people dead.
Photographs from the scene of the accident showed that the top of the bus had been shorn off and was by the side of the road.
Rural roads in Kenya usually lack lighting. Accidents are frequent and often deadly, with drivers speeding and executing dangerous passing maneuvers on narrow two-lane stretches. At least 35 people were killed when a bus crashed in February.
“We are losing too many Kenyans through road accidents, and the onus is us as car owners, as commuters, as traffic police, and as leaders,” President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote on Twitter on Thursday. He promised to hold vehicle owners accountable for accidents. “We are going to take action now, not just against the drivers but even the car owners themselves,” he said.
The World Health Organization has said that estimates of the number of people killed in traffic crashes in Kenya annually range wildly, between 3,000 and 13,000 annually. One-third of all fatalities are passengers, many of them killed “in unsafe forms of public transportation,” WHO said.
Francis Kimemia, secretary to the Cabinet of Kenya, offered condolences on Twitter. If passengers aren’t happy with something, report it, he said, adding “It’s your life.”