A vehicle carrying fuel has collided with several vehicles on a Kenyan highway, killing at least 33 people and injuring scores of others in a huge ball of flames. The death toll is expected to rise.
The accident happened in west-central Kenya on the Nairobi-Naivasha Highway, about 10 kilometers north of Naivasha.
President Uhuru Kenyatta says the vehicle responsible for the deaths should not have been on that particular road at that hour, and he expects the agencies responsible for enforcing traffic regulation to fully investigate this tragic breach.
Kenyatta said the fatalities included 11 officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) who provide VIP protection, including to the president. He expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the accident.
Officials say the accident was caused by a minivan ferrying inflammable materials, and that the van lost control before slamming into vehicles from oncoming traffic at the Karai area on the Naivasha-Nakuru road.
Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper quoted witnesses saying the tanker driver appeared to lose control of the truck before it slammed into several vehicles and burst into flames.
Mwachi Pius Mwachi, a spokesperson for Kenya’s National Disaster Management Unit, said more than 11 vehicles were burned in the accident.
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 re-introduced breathalyzers 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 this year, 86 more deaths than in the same period last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.